"They just stabbed me and my kids. My little boys. They're gone!"
-Darlie Routier, 911 Call
It was the 6th of June 1996. A Thursday. Twenty six year old Darlie Routier was on the couch in front of the television with two of her boys. Darlie was married to Darin and they lived in a beautiful home that they had built in Roulette, Dallas, Texas, United States with their three boys.
Darlie was just fifteen years old when she met seventeen year old Darin. He worked at the Western Sizzlin’, the same place where her mother worked. As soon as Darin saw Darlie, he believed she was the one for him. She was gorgeous and full of life.
Darin and Darlie
Darin and Darlie were well known in Roulette. Darin started his own company, Testnec, which tested circuit boards and it grew fast. The company was making good money and Darin and Darlie enjoyed spending it. They both had expensive taste and opted for a marble bathroom, luxurious white carpet in the dining room and a $9,000 redwood spa for the back yard. Darin purchased a thirty foot cabin cruiser to use on Lake Ray Hubbard. He also bought a Jaguar.
Both Darin and Darlie were fond of diamonds. Darin wore a diamond watch and gold nuggets and diamond rings and Darlie had multiple diamond rings and liked to wear several of them at once. She liked to look good too and dyed her hair blonde and got size 36DDD breast implants.
Darlie, Darin, Devon and Damon
For a few years, things were really good for Darlie and Darin. Even though they enjoyed showing off their wealth, they were well liked in the neighborhood. And they were generous too. Darlie, who was a stay at home mother, cooked for neighbors when they needed food and they paid a mortgage repayment for one of the neighbors who had cancer when they were struggling to pay their bills. They were also just a really fun couple, great people to be around and children and adults loved them. Darlie would allow all the children to play at her house. They had a games room for the boys and they were happy to share it.
That morning, the 6th of June, Darlie was in the family room asleep with two of her boys, five year old Damon and six year old Devon. The boys had spent a few hours in the hot tub the night before and Darlie had wrapped them up in blankets so that they could watch the new large television she had just installed. She popped some popcorn for them and after a while, they fell asleep in front of the television. Darlie told Darin she would sleep downstairs with them. Darlie didn't have a great sleep the night before as she had woken a few times due to the baby. Her third son, Drake, was almost eight months old and often woke during the night. So she was happy to sleep on the couch that night.
At 2.31am, Darlie was wide awake. She was on the phone to a 911 operator:
"They just stabbed me and my kids. My little boys. They're gone!"
Darlie was screaming and Darin ran downstairs.
Darlie said that she was asleep but woke when she felt Damon pushing down on her shoulder. He was crying:
Darlie sat up on the couch and saw the outline of a man walking out through the kitchen and into the utility room. She followed him and found a knife on the kitchen floor. Darlie picked it up. She noticed then that the boys had been stabbed and she had also been stabbed. Darin was trying to help the boys when Darlie was on the 911 call. The police arrived within minutes.
Darlie and the Boys
Darlie had suffered a neck wound and a stab wound to the right forearm and there were bruises on her arm.
Devon was lying face up with his eyes open. But it was too late. He was dead. He had been stabbed twice in the chest. The first stab wound to the upper chest penetrated his pulmonary artery and it went into his right lung. The second stab wound was lower in the chest and went into his liver.
Damon had been stabbed four times in the back. Some of the wounds penetrated through his lungs and liver. Damon had struggled across the floor of the family room and towards the hallway and kitchen before he collapsed. When police arrived, he was face down on the floor and gasping for breath. Despite the efforts of the paramedics, Damon died before he reached hospital.
Devon and Damon
Darlie was treated in hospital for her injuries but they were described as superficial injuries.
Darlie told police about the man she saw. She only saw him from the back and side but described him as a white man wearing dark clothing and a baseball cap. When police examined the scene, they discovered that the garage, which is beside the utility room, had a window open and the screen door had been cut. It appeared that someone entered the house via the screen door in the garage and walked through the utility room, kitchen and into the family room. That was the route Darlie saw him take as he was leaving.
But as police investigated further, they discovered a few things that did not make sense in relation to the intruder story. And, in a move that shocked Darlie's family, they charged Darlie with the capital murders of her sons. Despite being charged with the murder of both of her boys, the Prosecution only moved forward with the capital murder charge against her youngest son, Damon.
It was the Prosecution's case that while life may have been great for Darlie and Darin at one point, it had not been great in the run up to that day, the 6th of June. It was their case that Darlie and Darin were struggling financially. Darin's company was no longer making good money. Darin started a second business, called Champagne Wishes, in which he would take people around the lake on his boat at sunset while they sipped champagne. But they were struggling to pay their mortgage and to live the same lifestyle that they had become used to. They tried to borrow $5000 from the Bank a few days before the murders but the Bank turned them down.
Darlie in Hospital
The Prosecution also believed that Darlie was struggling personally too and was depressed. She had a new baby, Drake, and they believed that she wanted her freedom back. It was their case that she was unhappy with how she looked, something that had always been so important to her and her desperation to lose weight after having the baby caused her great anxiety. So much so, that she had just started taking diet pills. The Prosecution also revealed to the Jury that just a little over a month before the murders, on the 3rd of May, Darlie wrote an entry in her diary that was addressed to her boys:
“I hope that one day you will forgive me for what I am about to do. My life has been such a hard fight for a long time, and I just can’t find the strength to keep fighting anymore.”
Darlie considered taking sleeping pills that day to kill herself. But she never took them.
It was the Prosecution's case that on the 6th of June, Darlie stabbed her two boys to death and then went to the sink in the kitchen and slashed her throat and cut her arm over the sink. They believed she did this over the sink because when police investigated, they discovered through the use of Luminol, that there was a large amount of blood in the sink that had been cleaned. There was no blood on the couch . This did not make sense as Darlie said that she was on the couch when the intruder attacked her.
The Prosecution also asked the Jury to look carefully at the injuries. The stab wounds inflicted on the boys were deep wounds and the wounds to Darlie were not. It was the Prosecution's case that Darlie staged the crime scene to make it look like there was an intruder. She told the 911 operator that:
"His knife was laying over there and I already picked it up."
They believed she did this so there would be an explanation for her fingerprints being on it. The knife was a knife from her own kitchen.
The Prosecution produced evidence at the Trial from a blood expert, Tom Bevel. The expert testified that blood was found on the back of Darlie's nightshirt. It was the boys’ blood and the expert believed it was likely it had gotten there when it dripped off the knife when Darlie was raising her arm above her head while stabbing the boys.
The Prosecution also referred to the screen door that had been cut. The screen was made up of fiberglass rods that are connected with a rubber polymer, a black rubbery substance. A knife that was found in Darlie's kitchen was tested. The knife was found in the knife block in the kitchen. The fiberglass rods found in the window screen, and the black rubber material, was found on the blade of that knife. It was the Prosecution's case that that was the knife that cut the screen door which indicated it had been cut from someone inside the house. Furthermore, the flowers and area outside the garage window were not disturbed. It did not look like anybody entered the house or left the house that way.
Despite all the evidence the Prosecution put forward, it was a video that seemed to have the greatest impact. The Prosecution showed the Jury a video that had been taken at the cemetery. Just a few days after the boys were murdered, on what would have been Devon’s seventh birthday, Darlie drove to the cemetery with family and friends, and laughed as she sprayed Silly String all over his grave.
It was the Defense's case that an unknown intruder murdered the two boys and tried to kill Darlie. They highlighted the fact that a sock had been found in an alley 75 yards from the house. The sock had blood on it. The blood was from both Damon and Devon. It was their case that an intruder dropped it after leaving the house.
The Defense also referred to the fact that a neighbor had reported seeing a black car at the time of the screams and other neighbors saw a black car previously driving slowly by the Routier house.
The Defense argued that Darlie could not have caused her injuries herself and they were not superficial. The only reason she did not die was because the knife stopped two millimeters short of her carotid artery. It was their case that there was no evidence at all that implicated Darlie. There was no eye witness, no confession and no motive. They claimed that there was no financial motive in the case as the Life Insurance police for the boys was for $10000 and their funerals cost $14000.
The Jury focused on the Silly String video and watched it at least seven times. They found Darlie guilty of the capital murder of Damon and she was sentenced to death by way of lethal injection.
Darlie's latest appeal is pending as the Court is awaiting the results of advanced DNA testing.
Darlie and Darin divorced but Darin does not believe that Darlie murdered the boys.
Her knife used to cut screen, jewelry wasn’t taken at sink where clean up occurred, she named 2 men in her jail letters & freaked out on the stand when asked about it, blood under the glass & vacuum, no cuts on her feet, wine glass was latched wouldn’t have been knocked down, Domain didn’t bark, motion lites not on, she called media herself to film that grave scene. Her mother had the opportunity a few years ago to go on Dr. Phil? Worldwide attn and any dna testing? She refused. Why? She knows her daughter did this. Her fans say necklace was embedded, had to be surgically removed but it simply fell off when bandage removed. Bruising on her arms prob caused by boys kicking her off. Her wounds were superficial & she didn’t know what/where carotid was. She was lucky she didn’t kill herself. She was such a light sleeper that she would wake up when Drake turned over in his crib yet she slept through all that? She’s guilty. http://www.darlieroutierfactandfiction.com/
*It wasn’t a screen door in the garage that was cut, it was a window screen.
*Right inside that window was a covered litter box and a large animal cage, both undisturbed. An intruder would have had to set his foot in the six inches or so of bare floor between them, and then made his way through a garage stuffed to the rafters with piles and stacks of stuff, in the dark, without disturbing any of it. More importantly, he would have had to retreat by that same route, without leaving a single footprint, drop of blood, or fingerprint anywhere (no blood was found in the garage at all). The dust on the windowsill was completely undisturbed. The screen was cut, but no tears or bulges indicated anyone had gone through it.
*Darlie did not just say to the 911 operator, “His knife was laying over there and I already picked it up.” She mentioned several times that the “intruder” dropped or threw the knife down and that she had already touched it and picked it up, and “we could have gotten the prints, maybe.” She mentioned the knife and the fact that they would not find the “intruder’s” prints on it, or any prints but hers because she had picked up the knife, several times to the police and the doctors and nurses at the hospital.
*In her official police statement, she said she’d picked up the knife because she thought the intruder was still in the garage and might come back. By the time of her trial, she had changed that to “it was just instinct.”
*The night of the murders was not the first night Darlie slept downstairs. She had been sleeping there on and off (mostly on) for several weeks, because, as you said, she claimed the sound of baby Drake moving in his crib woke her up. Yet she claimed to have slept through the brutal knife attacks of her two sons.
*The boys had not just “spent several hours” in the hot tub. They had been playing in there, and managed to drain out all the water. They were both being punished for this (Devon asked to have a friend stay over, and was told he could not, as part of this punishment). Darlie did not wrap them in towels or blankets to watch TV; the hot tub incident happened earlier in the day. Darlie claims the boys asked to sleep downstairs with her (not the other way around), but that is debatable. What is not debatable is that Darlie planned to sleep downstairs all along, and that Darlie’s sister Dana had been staying at the house with them for several weeks, but that night Darlie sent her home.
*Darlie said in her official statement that she sent Dana home because she [Darlie] “wasn’t feeling too well.” By the time of her trial, this story changed, into Dana asking to go home because she “couldn’t reach her fiance on the phone.” In other words, the family have all lied to try to hide the fact that Darlie deliberately arranged to be sleeping downstairs alone with the boys that night.Darlie claimed that Damon woke her up by pressing on her shoulder and saying, “Mommy, Mommy.” Damon left bloody handprints on the floor and a bloody “buttprint” on the couch (where he rested as he apparently tried to stand/could no longer stand), yet he left no bloody hand- or fingerprints or marks on Darlie’s shirt where she claims he touched her repeatedly to wake her up.
*Darin’s boat was not running. Darlie and Darin had many arguments about it (she wanted him to sell the boat), including one that night, during which he now claims she asked for a “marital separation.”
*The undisturbed windowsill dust, undisturbed mulch between the garage window and backyard gate, and lack of any blood beyond the utility room were not the only indications that no one had left the home through the garage window. The motion detector light (which stayed on for 18 minutes) had not been tripped, and the gate was broken and required real effort to open and close; it was still closed, and there was no indication that anyone had opened it, tried to open it, or climbed over it.
*No neighbor reported seeing a strange black car outside the house at the time of the murders. A car did come by just after the police arrived; it was stopped and searched, and the driver & passengers questioned. They had no connection to the murders.
*A few people did see an unfamiliar black car on the street in the days prior to/the day of the murders. That was not unusual, and still isn’t. Spend a day watching your street, and see how many unfamiliar cars drive by. The Routiers had a fountain in their front yard, and it was common, neighbors said/testified, for people to drive by to look at it, or slow down to look as they drove past.
*The sock did not just have drops of Devon and Damon’s blood. It also had Darlie’s DNA in the toe, like it would be had she slipped the sock over her hand while she stabbed the boys.
*The “Silly String” video did not just consist of Darlie laughing as she sprayed Silly String on the grave of her sons eight days after they were brutally murdered in front of her. It also consisted of an approximately 15-minute interview given by Darlie and Darin, and was filmed at Darlie’s request by a local news channel. In it, Darlie informed the reporter that “gossip is the biggest evil in the world,” and that Devon and Damon were “up in Heaven, and they are having the biggest birthday party that we could ever imagine.” She giggled and flirted with the reporter as she talked about how much the boys loved their big house (the “sweet memory” she recited about the boys was how they called it “their Home Alone house” and wanted to slide down the bannister, but she wouldn’t let them; this after giggling about some other memory that she couldn’t tell), and how the boys weren’t racist and “didn’t see the world as cruelly as adults have to do.” She also commented that the police were going “beyond the call [of duty]” in looking for the “intruder,” because of course most mothers would think the police were working too hard to find the person who murdered their children and attacked them, and described the intruder as someone who was at that moment “out there doing whatever he wants,” while she and her husband “[didn’t] know if [they were] coming or going.” The intruder, she informed the public, “had to go through the boys to get to [her],” and was careful to tell us that she “wasn’t thinking about [herself]” at the time that it happened. Once or twice she mentioned being sad or how their “hearts [were] breaking”—not broken, breaking—and was careful to look sad as she said it, but for the most part she was glowing with happiness. It was an astonishing piece of film to watch.
*Despite that, all of the jurors who have spoken on the subject (save one, an elderly man whose statements are in doubt anyway, for a number of reasons) have made clear that their decision was NOT based on the SS video, but on the mountain of physical evidence implicating Darlie, and the complete and total lack of any evidence that anyone else was even in their home that night. They did not “focus” on the video.
The above is all just part of the case; I haven’t even really started on the physical evidence, motive, and other issues.
I enjoyed reading your article. Thank you for posting it.
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