Darlie Routier

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Darlie Routier
Darlie Routier booking (mugshot).png
Darlie Lynn Peck

(1970-01-04) January 4, 1970 (age 50)
Criminal statusOn death row
Spouse(s)Darin Routier (divorced)
ChildrenDevon, Damon, and Drake
Conviction(s)Capital murder, one count
Criminal penaltyDeath
Imprisoned atMountain View Unit, Texas Department of Criminal Justice[1]

Darlie Lynn Peck Routier (born January 4, 1970) is an American woman from Rowlett, Texas, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of her five-year-old son Damon in 1996. She was never charged with the murder of her other son, six-year-old Devon.

Damon and Devon were stabbed to death with a large kitchen knife in Routier's home, while Routier sustained knife wounds to her throat and arm. Routier told authorities that the crime was perpetrated by an unidentified intruder. During the trial, the prosecution argued that Routier's injuries were self-inflicted, that the crime scene had been staged, and that she murdered her sons because of the family's financial difficulties; the defense argued that there was no reason Routier would have killed her children, and that the case did not have a motive, a confession, or any witnesses. The jury found Routier guilty of the murder of Damon, and sentenced her to death by lethal injection.

Two appeals filed by Routier, who maintains her innocence, based on allegations of irregularities during the trial were denied, but new DNA tests were ordered multiple times after technology had advanced. As of 2019, testing is still ongoing.[2]

Routier's case has been the subject of multiple books and television shows.


External video
MUTCD D12-4.svg
Routier's 911 Call

On June 6, 1996, at 2:31 am, 9-1-1 dispatchers in Rowlett, Texas, received a call from the Routier residence at 5801 Eagle Drive.[3] Routier told the operator that her home had been broken into and that an intruder had stabbed her children, 6-year-old Devon and 5-year-old Damon, and cut her throat. Police arrived within three minutes of the 9-1-1 call.[4] They discovered a window screen in the garage had been cut, which indicated a possible entry point for an intruder.[5] A search of the house and grounds did not locate an intruder. Having thus secured the site, police permitted paramedics to attend to the victims.[4]

Routier told police that the assailant escaped through the garage. Investigators said that the garage contained no blood drops, and added that indications were that no one had run through there at all.[6]

Routier's sons sustained fatal injuries. Her wounds, described as superficial,[7] came within two millimetres of her carotid artery.[8] Routier was treated at a hospital and released two days later.[9] Her youngest son, 7-month-old Drake, was asleep upstairs with her husband Darin at the time of the murders; both escaped harm.

Newscasts showed Routier and other family members holding a birthday party at the boys' grave to posthumously celebrate Devon's 7th birthday eight days after the murders. She was shown smiling and laughing as she sprayed Silly String on the graves in celebration, singing "Happy Birthday". Family members point out that the newscasts did not show an earlier video that depicted a solemn ceremony honoring the children.[3] Four days later, Routier was arrested and charged with capital murder.

Routier later commented on the video, saying, "He wanted to be seven. I did the only thing I knew to do to honor him and give him all his wishes because he wasn't here anymore. But how do you know what you're going to do when you lose two children? How do you know how you're going to act?"[10]


Mountain View Unit, where Routier is held

The prosecution suggested that Routier murdered her sons because of the family's financial difficulties. Prosecutors described her as a "pampered, materialistic woman with substantial debt, plummeting credit ratings, and little money in the bank, who feared that her lavish lifestyle was about to end". Jurors also saw the Silly String video.[11] Crime scene consultant James Cron testified that evidence suggested the scene inside the Routier residence had been staged.[12]

Routier was represented at trial by lawyer Douglas Mulder.[8] Defense attorneys said that there was no reason why she would have killed her children, and that the case did not have a motive, a confession or any witnesses. They asserted that it was unrealistic to accuse Routier of staging a crime scene. Her attorneys advised her not to appear on the witness stand, but she testified anyway and "withered under cross-examination by prosecutor Toby Shook."[11]

San Antonio chief medical examiner Vincent DiMaio testified that the wound to Routier's neck came within two millimeters of her carotid artery and that it was not consistent with the self-inflicted wounds he had seen in the past. That differed from the assertions of her treating physicians, who had told police officials that the wounds might have been self-inflicted.[8] Tom Bevel testified that cast-off blood found on the back of Routier's nightshirt indicated that she had raised the knife over her head as she withdrew it from each boy to stab again.[12]

Routier was convicted of murdering Damon. On February 4, 1997, she was sentenced to death by lethal injection.[13]

Post-trial claims and appeals[edit]

Defense attorneys allege numerous errors were made during Routier's trial and in the official transcript of it, as well as the investigation of the murders, especially at the crime scene. An appeals court dismissed these claims, as did a court ruling on her habeas corpus petition.[14]

In June 2008, Routier was granted the right to new DNA tests. Her appeals were remanded to the state level for improved DNA testing.[15] On January 29, 2014, Chief Judge of the Western District Fred Biery granted a request from prosecution and defense for her case for further DNA tests vital to the defense to be performed on a bloody fingerprint found in the house, a bloody sock and her nightshirt.[13] In 2018, the Criminal District Court No. 3 ordered a third round of DNA testing with the backing of both prosecution and defense.[16]


In June 2011, Darin Routier filed for divorce from his wife, saying that the decision was mutual and "very difficult," and that he still believes his wife is innocent. He said that they decided to divorce to end the "limbo" that they had been in since her arrest and conviction.[17][18]

In media[edit]


The 1999 book Precious Angels: A True Story of Two Slain Children and a Mother Convicted of Murder by Barbara Davis that accounted for Routier's guilt.[19] The author has since changed her mind and now supports Routier by donating all the income from the book to her family.[20]

In the 2015 book Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death journalist Kathy Cruz engages legal experts for their assessments on Routier's trial transgressions and highlighting the controversies of the death penalty conviction. Throughout the book Cruz collaborates with a former FBI special agent on her examination of the case.[21][22]

The February 2017 book Bloodstained Justice: The Darlie Routier Story by Wanda G. Davis, documents Darlie Routier's family members arguments that crucial evidence was overlooked by authorities during her trial.[23][24]

The August 2018 book Darlie Routier: Deaths of Damon and Devon by Pamela Lillian Valemont, in this writing forensic profiles of the individuals involved in the Darlie Routier case are detailed.[25][26]


The TLC documentary series Forensic Files, October 1999 episode titled: "Invisible Intruder" (S4; E1), reports on how detectives discovered who the killer was by analyzing the crime scene's blood spatter, Darlie's 911 call and the offender profiling of her behavior.[27][28]

Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack covered the case in Season 12 Episode 6.[citation needed] The case is again revisited on Unsolved Mysteries with Dennis Farina. Both episodes share evidence from both sides of the case, including those who claim Darlie to be innocent and those pointing towards her guilt.[citation needed]

External video
48 Hours: Precious Angels, full episode – CBS News video

The CBS News series 48 hours episode sub-titled Precious Angels is derived from the true-crime book, of the same title, authored by Barbara Davis, which first aired August 10, 2001. CBS correspondent Bill Lagattuta interviewed Darin Routier, incarcerated Darlie Routier and Davis about the slayings; associated public officials and defense attorneys were also interviewed.[29][30]

The Investigation Discovery network aired the Werner Herzog's series On Death Row episode sub-titled: "Darlie Routier" that covered the case in Season 2, Episode 2, first aired: September 10, 2013.[31]

An American Broadcasting Company (ABC) seven-episode documentary series, The Last Defense examines the death row cases of Darlie Routier and Julius Jones. The series premiered, on June 12, 2018, profiling Routier's case in a four-part episode:[32][33]

  • "Series Premiere – Darlie Routier: The Crime", S1; E1, air date: June 12, 2018.[34]
  • "Darlie Routier: The Trial", S1; E2, air date: June 19, 2018.[35]
  • "Darlie Routier: The Woman", S1; E3, air date: June 26, 2018.[36]
  • "Darlie Routier: The Fight", S1; E4, air date: July 3, 2018.[37]

In 2019, ABC also aired a two-part documentary about Routier's case as part of its 20/20 newsmagazine.[38]

See also[edit]

Other cases of filicide in Texas:

Other filicides in the United States perpetrated by women:

Accusations of filicide:


  1. ^ TDCJ Number: 00999220. "TDCJ Offender Details". offender.tdcj.texas.gov. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Fingerprints in Routier case to be tested | News, Sports, Jobs – Altoona Mirror". Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  3. ^ a b Cruz, Kathy (November 24, 2012). "Family of Darlie Routier believes that DNA testing could prove her innocence". Hood County News. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Cartwright, Emily. "Precious Angels". www.cbsnews.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  5. ^ Evans, Colin. Murder Two: The Second Casebook of Forensic Detection. p. 222.
  6. ^ https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/06/12/5-controversial-moments-case-sent-darlie-routier-death-row-sons-murder
  7. ^ "Doctor recalls Routier's 'superficial' wounds". lubbockonline.com. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  8. ^ a b c Hollandsworth, Skip (July 2002). "Maybe Darlie didn't do it". Texas Monthly. Emmis Publishing, L.P. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Trial Transcripts, Testimony of Dr. Alejandro Santos, pg. 752" (PDF).
  10. ^ von Fremd, Mike. "Was Texas death row mom wrongly convicted?". ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Leung, Rebecca (February 5, 2002). "Part 2: Mother Tried for Murder". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Cruz, Kathy (31 October 2012). "Forensics expert disagrees with state's version of events in Routier case". Hood County News. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  13. ^ a b Ray, Phil (January 29, 2014). "Judge allows new trial request for Routier case". Altoona Mirror. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Tsiaperas, Tasha (3 June 2016). "Did Darlie Routier kill her kids? Doubts remain 20 years later". Dallas News. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  15. ^ McNary, Chris (June 19, 2018). "Court grants Darlie Routier DNA evidence testing". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  16. ^ Guerrero, Maria (November 13, 2018). "New DNA Testing Underway in Darlie Routier Murder Case". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  17. ^ "Darlie Routier's Husband Files For Divorce". Wfaa.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  18. ^ "Darlie Routier Divorced in Prison". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  19. ^ Suchergebnisse (1999-01-01). Precious Angels: A True Story of Two Slain Children and a Mother convicted of Murder. New York: Onyx. ISBN 9780451408532.
  20. ^ Free Darlie Routier (2015-02-24), "Mugshots" - Darlie Routier, retrieved 2018-10-04
  21. ^ Cruz, Kathy (2015). Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 9780875656113. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  22. ^ Cruz, Kathy (8 April 2015). "Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death". amazon.com. Texas Christian University Press. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  23. ^ Wanda G. Davis (17 February 2017). "Bloodstained Justice: The Darlie Routier Story". Barnes & Noble. CreateSpace Publishing. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  24. ^ Wanda G. Davis. "Bloodstained Justice: The Darlie Routier Story". ThriftBooks. CreateSpace Publishing. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  25. ^ Pamela Lillian Valemont (13 August 2018). Darlie Routier: Deaths of Damon and Devon. Barnes & Noble: Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-244-70595-4. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  26. ^ Pamela Lillian Valemont (13 August 2018). Darlie Routier: Deaths of Damon and Devon (1st ed.). books.google.com: Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9780244705954. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Forensic Files | Season 4, Episode 1 Invisible Intruder". TVGuide.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Forensic Files: Invisible Intruder (TV Episode 1999) | IMDb". Retrieved 27 September 2018. TV-14| 21min | Aired 6 October 1999
  29. ^ "48 Hours | TV Guide". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  30. ^ Brennan, Patricia (22 July 2001). "Crime Stories". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 February 2019. The other true-crime books to be examined are ..., "Precious Angels" by Barbara Davis,...
  31. ^ "On Death Row Season 2 Episode 2 Watch Online | The Full Episode". MSN. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  32. ^ "About The Last Defense". ABC.com. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  33. ^ Natalie Stone (7 June 2018). "WATCH: Viola Davis' New Series Investigates the Housewife Who Was Sentenced to Death for the Murder of Her 2 Sons". PEOPLE.com. Meredith Corporation. People Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  34. ^ lay summary
  35. ^ lay summary
  36. ^ lay summary
  37. ^ lay summary.
  38. ^ Hastings, Deborah (2019-05-10). "2 Decades After Being Convicted of Killing Her Son, Darlie Routier Insists She's Innocent". Inside Edition. Retrieved 2019-07-25.

DNA report from 2015 https://youcouldbewrong.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/dr-06262015103716.pdf

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]