Darlie Lynn Peck|
January 4, 1970
Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Criminal status||On death row|
|Spouse(s)||Darin Routier (divorced)|
|Children||Devon, Damon, and Drake|
|Conviction(s)||Capital murder, one count|
|Imprisoned at||Mountain View Unit, Texas Department of Criminal Justice|
Darlie Lynn Peck Routier (born January 4, 1970) is an American woman from Rowlett, Texas who was convicted of murdering her five-year-old son Damon in 1996. She was never charged with the murder of her other son, six-year-old Devon. Both boys were stabbed to death with a large kitchen knife. Routier received the death penalty.
|Routier's 911 Call|
On June 6, 1996, at 2:31am, 9-1-1 dispatchers in Rowlett, Texas, received a call from the Routier residence at 5801 Eagle Drive. 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 slashed her throat. Police arrived within three minutes of the 9-1-1 call. They discovered a window screen in the garage had been cut, which indicated a possible entry point for an intruder. 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.
Routier's sons sustained fatal injuries. Her wounds, though sometimes described as superficial, came within two millimeters of her carotid artery. Routier was treated at a hospital and released two days later. 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 portion of the video which depicted a solemn ceremony honoring the children. 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?"
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. Crime scene consultant James Cron testified that evidence suggested the scene inside the Routier residence had been staged.
Routier was represented at trial by lawyer Douglas Mulder. 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."
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. 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.
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.
In June 2008, Routier was granted the right to new DNA tests. Her appeals were remanded to the state level for improved DNA testing. 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.
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.
- TDCJ Number: 00999220. "TDCJ Offender Details". offender.tdcj.texas.gov. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- Cruz, Kathy (November 24, 2012). "Family of Darlie Routier believes that DNA testing could prove her innocence". Hood County News. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
- Cartwright, Emily. "Precious Angels". www.cbsnews.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- Evans, Colin. Murder Two: The Second Casebook of Forensic Detection. p. 222.
- "Doctor recalls Routier's 'superficial' wounds". lubbockonline.com. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Hollandsworth, Skip (July 2002). "Maybe Darlie didn't do it". Texas Monthly. Emmis Publishing, L.P. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Trial Transcripts, Testimony of Dr. Alejandro Santos, pg. 752" (PDF).
- von Fremd, Mike. "Was Texas death row mom wrongly convicted?". ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
- Leung, Rebecca (February 5, 2002). "Part 2: Mother Tried for Murder". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Cruz, Kathy (31 October 2012). "Forensics expert disagrees with state's version of events in Routier case". Hood County News. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- Ray, Phil (January 29, 2014). "Judge allows new trial request for Routier case". Altoona Mirror. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Tsiaperas, Tasha (3 June 2016). "Did Darlie Routier kill her kids? Doubts remain 20 years later". Dallas News. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- McNary, Chris (June 19, 2018). "Court grants Darlie Routier DNA evidence testing". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Darlie Routier's Husband Files For Divorce". Wfaa.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- "Darlie Routier Divorced in Prison". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
DNA report from 2015 https://youcouldbewrong.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/dr-06262015103716.pdf
- Davis, Barbara (1998). Precious Angels: A True Story of Two Slain Children and a Mother Convicted of Murder. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-451-40853-2.
- Davis, Donald A. (2007). Hush Little Babies: The True Story Of A Mother Who Murdered Her Own Children. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-4299-0346-2.