In the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, six-year-old Devon Routier and his five-year-old brother, Damon, were stabbed and killed in the family room of their home in Rowlett, Texas. Their mother, Darlie Routier, was seriously injured in the same attack, suffering multiple knife wounds that included a brutal slash across her throat that went right up to her carotid artery.
Almost immediately, however, the investigators concluded that it was Darlie herself who had murdered her children. They decided her injuries were self-inflicted as part of an elaborate effort to stage the crime scene and make it look like an intruder had broken into the Routier home. All evidence inconsistent with Darlie’s guilt — including a bloodstained sock found 75 yards outside the home — was simply incorporated into their snap judgment that she had staged the scene to make it look like someone else was responsible.
Just four months after the murders, before much of the physical evidence had even been tested, jury selection began in Darlie Routier’s capital murder trial. The state’s case was circumstantial, arguing that Darlie must have committed the crime because there was no conclusive proof of an intruder in the home. To bolster that circumstantial case, the prosecution relied on a strategy of character assassination, calling witness after witness to testify that Darlie was a bad and trashy person. As the lead prosecutor promised at the beginning of his opening statement, the state’s evidence was explicitly intended to prove that Darlie was a self-centered woman, a materialistic woman, and a woman cold enough, in fact, to murder her own two children.
Darlie was convicted and sentenced to death. Ever since that conviction, a team of new attorneys has been working to obtain a new trial and establish her innocence. Recently, Darlie’s story was told in a new documentary series on the ABC television network. The Last Defense aired beginning on June 12, 2018. The first four episodes explored Darlie’s case.
Two of Darlie’s current attorneys, Steve Cooper and Richard Smith, were interviewed for The Last Defense. The people who put it together were dedicated and diligent in examining all aspects of the case. Their telling of the story was thorough and compelling. We hope viewers with an open mind came away convinced of Darlie’s innocence. To that end, we decided to make the evidence available to the public here so it can be scrutinized by anyone who wants to view it for themselves.
Darlie Routier’s story is a tragic one, but it is not finished yet.
In the years since her trial, advances in science and technology have made new testing possible, while also discrediting the methods and conclusions of the state’s investigators and trial experts. If you would like to support the efforts of Darlie’s defense team — and to be clear, her attorneys are all unpaid volunteers — you can contribute to the cause via PayPal at the Donate link above. Regardless, everyone is welcome to review the materials presented here and make up their own minds.