Many people have been involved in Darlie’s case over the years, and it’s not always easy to remember who they all are.  To help keep them straight, here are most of the people you will come across as you examine the case, with brief descriptions of how they were involved.

The Family

  • Darlie Lynn Routier
    The defendant. Darlie was 26 years old when two of her three sons were stabbed to death in the family room of their home in Rowlett, Texas.  Darlie was also badly hurt, including a deep slash across her throat that came perilously close to her carotid artery.
  • Darin Routier
    Darlie’s husband, who was sleeping upstairs when the stabbings occurred. Although Darlie and Darin divorced many years after the trial, he has always maintained that Darlie is innocent.
  • Devon Routier
    Darlie and Darin’s 6-year-old son, stabbed to death around 2:30 am on June 6, 1996. Devon would have turned 7 on June 14, the day of the memorial service that ended with the silly string incident that deeply impacted Darlie’s public perception and the trial of the case.  Darlie was not tried for Devon’s murder, presumably because the prosecution wanted the chance of a do-over if she was not convicted for Damon’s murder.
  • Damon Routier
    Damon was just 5 years old when he died, young enough that his murder made Darlie eligible for the death penalty. Damon was still alive when Darlie called 911.  The paramedic who treated him testified that Damon took his last breath when he rolled him over onto his back.
  • Drake Routier
    Darlie and Darin’s youngest son was still a baby, asleep upstairs in the same bedroom as Darin when his two older brothers were killed. Drake was not injured.
  • Dana Routier
    Darlie’s friend since high school, and Darin’s younger sister. Dana testified for the defense during the sentencing phase of Darlie’s trial.
  • Sarilda Routier
    Darin’s mother. Sarilda testified during the defense’s case in chief, right before Darin took the witness stand.
  • Darlie Kee
    Darlie’s mother, and the grandmother of Devon, Damon, and Drake. To keep their names straight, friends and family sometimes refer to the younger Darlie as Darlie Lynn, and her mother as Mama Darlie.  Kee testified for the defense during the sentencing phase of Darlie’s trial.
  • Robbie Kee
    Darlie Kee’s husband. Mr. Kee did not testify at trial, but provided a sworn affidavit in 2002 attesting that Darin had said he was looking for someone to stage a robbery as an insurance scam.


  • David Waddell
    The first police officer on the scene, he can be heard talking on the 911 recording. From Darin Routier’s testimony: “As soon as he walked into the room, he went — and he froze, and he did not move. . . . He didn’t do anything. I kept screaming at him, telling him to help me, and he wouldn’t help me.”  Although not included in his original incident report, Waddell testified that Darlie had refused his instructions to tend to Damon.
  • Matt Walling
    The second police officer on the scene, arriving immediately behind the first ambulance. Sgt. Walling held the paramedics outside until he and Waddell cleared the house and the garage.  The Rowlett P.D. promoted Walling to lieutenant shortly before trial.
  • James Cron
    A retired Dallas police investigator, Cron was called in by Rowlett P.D. to serve as the principal crime scene investigator. Cron testified that he concluded there had been no intruder within 20-30 minutes after he arrived at the scene.
  • Jim Patterson
    Lead detective on the case for the Rowlett P.D. When called as a witness by the defense, Det. Patterson pled the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about having secretly recorded the Routier family’s memorial service.
  • Chris Frosch
    Participated with Det. Patterson in secretly bugging the graveside memorial service and refused to testify based on his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
  • Tom Ward
    Rowlett police officer who, around 4:30 am, found the bloodstained sock by the alley approximately 200 feet from the Routier home.
  • Steve Ferrie
    Searched outside the Routier house with Sgt. Ward and was present when the bloodstained sock was found by the alley three houses away from the Routier residence. Officer Ferrie took over guard of the front door at 5:57 am.  From his notes, Ferrie testified that Cron, Walling, Nabors, and Mayne were in the house to conduct their walk-through of the crime scene from 6:11 am until 6:37 am.
  • David Mayne
    Rowlett P.D. crime scene photographer and evidence collector. Officer Mayne photographed the bloodstained sock and the exterior of the house after arriving about 4:15 am, but did not enter the house until 6:09 am.  He did not begin to photograph the interior until after James Cron had announced that there had not been an intruder in the home, around 6:37 am.
  • David Nabors
    Rowlett P.D. supervisor of physical evidence. Sgt. Nabors participated in the walk-through of the crime scene with James Cron, but did not testify at trial.
  • Charles Hamilton
    Officer Hamilton processed the crime scene for fingerprints, including two lifts of the unidentified bloody fingerprint on the sofa-back table.
  • Steve Wade
    Relieved Waddell in guarding the front door at 3:15 am until Officer Ferrie took over at 5:57 am. Officer Wade testified that he did not allow anyone, including the Rowlett police chief, to enter the house during the time he stood guard.
  • Dean Poos
    Communications supervisor for Rowlett P.D. The tape of Darlie’s 911 call was admitted through his testimony.
  • Bill Parker
    Retired Dallas police officer who was brought in to interrogate Darlie on June 18. Parker questioned Darlie for three hours before formally arresting her.  Parker did not record the interview, but testified that Darlie had not denied killing her children, saying instead that “If I did it, I don’t remember.”
  • Lloyd Harrell
    Private investigator for the defense. The trial judge ruled that Harrell could not testify in front of the jury because he had been present in the courtroom during other witnesses’ testimony.

Medical Personnel

  • Jack Kolbye
    First paramedic in the house, who tended to Damon’s injuries and transported him to the hospital. Kolbye testified that Damon took his final breath when he turned him on his back and that Damon’s eyes still had life in them at that time.
  • Bryan Koschak
    Second paramedic in the house, after radioing from the ambulance for more backup. Koschak triaged Devon and, finding no signs of life, moved on to treat Darlie’s injuries.
  • Larry Byford
    Third paramedic on the scene, who helped tend to Darlie’s injuries on the front porch and drove her to the hospital.
  • Alex Santos
    Emergency room doctor who performed exploratory surgery on Darlie’s neck wound and closed her other injuries. Dr. Santos described the wounds as medically “superficial,” meaning that they cut through the skin and subcutaneous tissue down to, but not into, the deeper structures.  But he also confirmed that the neck injury cut Darlie all the way down to the carotid artery sheath.
  • Patrick Dillawn
    Resident physician who also participated in Darlie’s surgery. Dr. Dillawn confirmed that the neck wound exposed Darlie’s carotid artery sheath and nicked the platysma muscle, but also testified that it was “superficial” in medical terms.
  • Jody Fitts
    Hospital emergency room nurse who assisted with Darlie’s initial examination.
  • Christopher Wielgosz
    ICU nurse who testified that “her eyes were tearful, but she had a very flat affect.” In his original witness statement, he described Darlie as “crying, visibly upset.”
  • Phyllis Jackson
    Baylor Health System police officer who gave her account of what Darlie had said during her initial interview with Detectives Patterson and Forsch.
  • Jody Cotner
    Hospital trauma coordinator who testified that Darlie was “kind of withdrawn. She didn’t cry very often.    She just wasn’t very emotional.”
  • Dianne Hollon
    ICU nurse who attended to Darlie the morning after the attack. Like other nurses, she testified that Darlie “didn’t show a whole lot of emotions.”
  • Paige Campbell
    ICU nurse whose shift watching over Darlie started the evening after the murders. Testified that “I never saw a tear roll down her face,” even though her notes from that evening described Darlie as “very tearful.”  Confronted with those notes, Campbell said she was referring to Darlie “whining a lot.”
  • Denise Faulk
    Took over as Darlie’s nurse in the ICU around 11 pm the night after the attack. “I saw — her eyes would get a little wet, but I never really saw tears go down her face.”
  • Joni McClain
    Testifying witness from the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

Expert Witnesses

  • Tom Bevel
    Bloodstain pattern analyst who testified for the prosecution. Among other things, Bevel testified that two tiny “cast-off” stains on Darlie’s shirt were a mixture of Darlie and her sons’ blood.
  • Charles Linch
    Trace evidence analyst who collected material from the crime scene. At trial, Linch testified that a piece of debris he found on a bread knife in the butcher block was consistent with material from the cut window screen.
  • Alan Brantley
    FBI agent who testified that “in this particular case, and this particular crime scene, that this crime scene has been staged, and in all likelihood whoever killed both Devon and Damon, was someone that they knew, and someone that the knew very well.”
  • Kathryn Long
    Forensic serologist who collected blood samples from the crime scene.
  • Judith Floyd
    DNA analyst who testified for the prosecution.
  • Carolyn Van Winkle
    Second DNA analyst who testified for the prosecution.
  • Robert Poole
    Forensic tool mark examiner who testified that the kitchen knife was consistent with Devon’s injuries and that two knives found in a neighbor’s backyard were excluded as causing those injuries.
  • Vincent DiMaio
    Chief Medical Examiner of Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas. Dr. DiMaio testified that Darlie’s wounds were not consistent with being self-inflicted.
  • Lisa Clayton
    Psychiatrist who testified about traumatic amnesia and psychic numbing.

Neighbors & Acquaintances

  • Bill Gorsuch
    Lived across the street from the Routiers. Called as the state’s second witness, he testified that Devon and Damon had been playing outside with his son until about 8 pm.
  • Gustavo Guzman
    Teenaged neighbor in a house behind the Routier home, where a pair of knives had been found in the back yard. Guzman testified that he and his mother had used the knives in some gardening work they had been doing.
  • Halina Czadan
    Mother of Darlie’s friend, Barbara Jovell. Halina did some housekeeping work for Darlie.  She testified that Darlie had commented the day before the murders that she needed $10,000.
  • Barbara Jovell
    Friend of Darlie who testified for the prosecution. She had attended the graveside memorial service on Devon’s birthday, and the prosecutors used her to introduce the infamous silly string video.
  • Karen Neal
    Friend of the Routier family and registered nurse who lived across the street. Darin had run to get help from Karen and her husband, Terry Neal, when the first police officer arrived on the scene.
  • Angelia Rickels
    Resident of a neighborhood near Darlie’s home who testified that two men had attempted to break into her home about an hour before the Routier murders.

State’s Attorneys

  • Greg Davis
    Assistant District Attorney and lead trial prosecutor.
  • Toby Shook
    Assistant District Attorney and second chair at trial.
  • Sherri Wallace
    Assistant District Attorney and third chair at trial.
  • John Rolater
    Assistant District Attorney and lead attorney for the state on direct appeal.

Defense Attorneys

  • Doug Mulder
    Mulder was hired by the family and became Darlie’s lead counsel on October 21, 1996, the first day of jury selection.
  • Richard Mosty
    Local attorney from Kerrville and assistant trial counsel.
  • Douglass Preston
    Kerrville attorney and assistant trial counsel.
  • John Hagler
    Attorney who attended the trial as prospective appellate counsel. Hagler argued many of the defenses’ key legal issues at trial.
  • Doug Parks
    Darlie’s original, court-appointed defense attorney. The family hired Doug Mulder to replace Parks after they learned that his defense would explore Darin’s potential connection to the crime.
  • Wayne Huff
    Darlie’s other court-appointed attorney, who was also replaced at the same time as Parks.
  • Stephen Cooper
    Appointed by the court to represent Darlie in the direct appeal, Cooper also ended up having to handle the many problems with the record of the trial. Since the conclusion of the direct appeal, Steve has remained on the case as a volunteer member of the habeas corpus/post-conviction team.
  • Richard Burr
    Lead counsel for Darlie in her post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings.  Mr. Burr’s entire practice focuses on death penalty defense work, including two cases argued and won at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Richard Smith
    Volunteer attorney for Darlie in post-conviction proceedings since 2002.
  • Lauren Schmidt
    Volunteer attorney for Darlie in post-conviction proceedings from 2002-17.
  • Stephen Losch
    Darlie’s original habeas corpus attorney, who died in 2003.


  • Mark Tolle
    Presiding judge for Darlie’s trial. Judge Tolle died in 2007.
  • Robert Francis
    Judge Francis was judge of Criminal District Court No. 3 in Dallas County from 1997-2009. Judge Francis presided over the recreation of the trial transcripts, ruled to deny Darlie’s writ of habeas corpus, and was eventually ordered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to allow limited DNA testing.
  • Gracie Lewis
    Judge Lewis has been judge of Criminal District Court No. 3 from 2009-present.
  • Royal Furgeson
    Judge Furgeson was the first judge assigned to oversee Darlie’s federal habeas corpus petition in 2005. In an order granting many of Darlie’s discovery requests, Judge Furgeson wrote that “the theory underlying the prosecution’s case against petitioner is as convoluted and counter-intuitive as that of any death penalty case to come before this Court.”  Judge Furgeson’s involvement ended when he moved to the Northern District of Texas, and he retired from the bench in 2013.
  • Fred Biery
    Judge Biery currently presides over Darlie’s federal habeas corpus petition, which has been placed under stay while post-conviction proceedings in the state court system are proceeding.