On January 4th, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Darlie Lynn Peck Routier, was born
Her mother's name was also Darlie and she had a sister named Danielle Fugate
When she was a teenager, Darlie, her mother and her stepfather Robbie Kee, moved to Lubbock. Darlie and her mother both worked at a restaurant called Western Sizzlin, this is where she would meet her husband Darin.
In 1985, when Darlie was only 15 she met Darin who was 17 at the time. Only three years later in 1988, the two were married, the same year Darlie graduation high school.
Darin and Darlie lived a lavish lifestyle, they purchased a new home in an affluent Dallas suburb. Darin spent thousands on renovations, he bought a Jaguar and a boat. Darlie got a boob job and spent tons of money on expensive jewelry, they were living the good life
In 1989, Darline gave birth to their first son, Devon Rush Routier. Two years later, in 1991 they had their second son, Damon Christian Routier, and in 1995 they had their third and last son, Drake.
The Routiers were described as the picture-perfect family, Darlie would bake cookies for the neighborhood children and the family even assisted a cancer patient pay their mortgage.
However, everything wasn’t as it seemed.
Although none of their friends knew it at the time, the Routiers were living well beyond their means. Darin's business began to have troubles, they were $10,000 behind with their mortgage payment back taxes and owed $12,000 on their credit cards. The life they had been living was quickly coming to an end.
They were struggling and it came out in their marriage and on their mental health. Darlie contemplated suicide, even going as far as to write her children a note in her diary asking for forgiveness and for them to not feel responsible for her death. Her mental state was obviously and understandably in disarray.
On June 6th, 1996 Darlie and two of her sons, Devon and Damon slept in the living room on the ground floor of their home. Darin and their third son Drake slept upstairs in the home.
At 2:31am 911 received a frantic call from Darlie.
Darlie says that an intruder broke into her home and quote “stabbed me and my kids”
In the 6 minute call Darlie said over and over that her babies were dying, she said that they had been stabbed by a knife and that she had already touched the knife and worried that she had disrupted evidence. There is a point too where it seems like Darin comes to the room and Darlie explains what is going on and is possibly trying to help the kids.
When Officer David Wadell arrived at the scene he stopped Darin at the door, he asked who he was and what he was doing. Darin told him he was attempting to contact a neighbor who was a nurse and could possibly help his sons. I only heard this in the episode of Forensic Files but one account of Darin's first words to investigators was “Have you seen Darlie? Isn’t she gorgeous? Doesn't she have gorgeous breasts?” He said that he could understand why someone had broken into the house because of how beautiful Darlie was. Apparently he was all saying this before he even knew if Darlie would survive.
When he entered the room, Officer Wadell saw Devon had died but Damon was hanging on to life. When Darin returned he was instructed to perform CPR in an attempt to save Damon however he later died in the ambulance.
Darlie was extremely injured as well, she had a gaping cut on her neck and a slice on her arm. She told Officer Wadell that she had touched the knife that was used to kill her children, she said she was worried that she had put her fingerprints on it and even commented to the 911 operator that if she hadn’t touched his knife maybe they would have found his prints. The knife turned out to have been taken from the home and was part of a set the family owned.
She asked Officer Wadell if he noticed any of her jewelry missing, he didn’t notice anything, in fact, Darlie had tons of expensive jewelry laying around and nothing was stolen, leading investigators to believe the motive was not robbery. Later, in a quote from Darin, he said “now we know that this is a sick individual that took absolutely nothing from our house but took the two most important things that were important to us”.
The main forensic evidence of this case was blood. If you have seen this episode of Forensic Files you'll know just how much blood there was. It was everywhere, wiped all over the floor, on the sink absolutely everywhere.
Investigators believed the intruder came in through a window that had the screen cut into it, he killed the children and attacked Darlie. Darlie noted that she was asleep when her children had been killed and only awoke when she felt a knife to her throat.
There is however a different version of this, in a written statement given to police a few days after the murder, Darlie said she woke up to her sons yelling “Mommy” she saw an intruder and followed him to the garage, it wasn't until that point that she realized she was hurt as well. Either way, Darlie was brought to the Baylor University Medical Center to have her injuries looked at. She went into surgery for the cut on her neck, it missed her carotid artery by only 2 centimeters.
The hospital staff noticed that she was not wearing underwear and they asked if she thought something might have happened and she said she “felt pressure down there” however a rape test was negative.
Darlie stated that the man who had broken into the house and murdered her two children was a tall white man wearing a black shirt and baseball cap.
And then things begin to get weird.
On June 14th, 8 days after the break-in and murder, an infamous video is released. Darlie and her family are seen surrounding Devons grave, singing happy birthday and spraying silly string all over the grave. Darlie is smiling and the whole family overall seems in happy spirits. The footage was filmed and shown on the news. The video was a turning point for this case. I’ll say this, and I don't know if it's true but Family said there was a solemn and sincere celebration of their lives before the news footage which the news didn't show.
Suddenly, Darlie went from being a victim of a horrible crime, to a woman the public was questioning. Did the murders really happen the way she had told the police?
They started to look deeper at the evidence found on the night of the attack and things were just not adding up.
1. The knife-owned by the family. Tracking dogs were able to track the "intruder" to where the sock was but no farther.
2. The sock, why would an intruder have taken the sock with him but left the murder weapon behind. The sock is definitely an interesting piece of evidence.
3. Darlie had mentioned that she chased the intruder and a wine glass had shattered on the floor, however, investigators noticed that she didn't have any cuts on her feet. She must have run through the kitchen before the glass broke.
4. The blood drops found in the home were investigated. The drops were circular, meaning that they would have come from someone who was standing straight up, not someone that was frantically running around the house after being attacked by an intruder.
5. Darlie had said the intruder had dropped the knife on in the kitchen and she had picked it up and put it on the counter, however, there was absolutely no evidence of this anywhere
What they did find was a perfect impression of the knife in the carpet of the living room. It seemed as though someone had been holding the knife and letting the blood run down their arm, this was the only possible way that would have made this particular impression. The blood on the knife was Darlies and Devons, no one else's.
6. They also discovered that Darlie had actually cleaned up the blood from the cabinet and floor under the sink. She had stood there for quite a while bleeding, this is where they believe Darlie had cut herself.
7. There were fiberglass rods found on a knife in the kitchen (not the murder weapon) that were consistent with the fiberglass rods made to make the window screen. Meaning the intruder must have had the knife before entering the house.
8. In the 911 call analysis they noticed that it seemed as though Darlie was frantically running around the house, they presumed in an attempt to clean the mess
9. The final nail in the coffin was blood spatter on the shirt she had been wearing, it came from someone lifting the arm to stab.
It was starting to become clear that there was no intruder.
Four days after the silly string video was released, Darlie was official charged with capital murder for her middle son Devon. Not only would this make it a capital murder case because of his age but prosecutors wanted to make sure that if the first trial failed, they would be able to prosecute her again for the murder of Damon.
The prosecution started making a case against Darlie, they portrayed her as a quote “materialistic woman who couldn’t cope with mounting debt and loss of her affluent lifestyle.” They said that the reason she killed her children was because of the money issues the family had been facing. They believed she killed her sons for the $5000 insurance payout.
Based on the evidence, especially the blood spatter, the jury found Darlie guilty and on February 4th, 1997 she was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
But the story doesn't end here.
To this day Darlie insists that she is innocent. And she’s not the only one. In addition to the continued support of her now ex-husband Darin, his family and many members of the public believe that there were issues with the investigation and trial and believe that Darlie should have a second chance.
In a recent 20/20 documentary that aired in May of 2019 Darlie says 'I cannot actually believe they're doing this to me when I didn't do this. I didn't kill Devon and Damon.'
Most of the scrutiny from the case is around the bloody sock that was found 75 yards from the family's home, as well as a fingerprint found in the dining room.
The pathologist believed that after the attack Damon would have only survived for nine minutes. The 911 call lasted six minutes (remember no cell phones the call was made on a home phone) and help arrived one minute after the call ended. This would have only left Darlie two minutes to slit the window, run 75 yards to leave the stock, run back 75 yards. Cut herself over the sink and clean up around the house
They believe that the police and prosecutors manipulated the evidence to get Darlie convicted.
A website called fordarlieroutier.com was set up with petitions to sign to get justice for Darlie as well as information claiming her innocence. As of 2000, the website had received over seven million hits.
The next bit of information I found on this website under the tab “her proof”.
1. There were fingerprints/palm prints found in the home as well as head/limb hair found in the home that did not match any known person.
2. There were two weapons used. There are two main reasons they believe this, there were wounds that were too thin for the knife they found to have been used and there was no blood from Damon on the knife found.
3. There actually were sightings of a person matching Darlies' description of the intruder however they were not checked out or followed up on by the police.
4. They also said that the blood spatter on Darlie’s shirt actually did not match with her being the murderer.
But there is more!
5. The police said that the wounds Darlie sustained were self-inflicted and superficial however Darlie’s surgery cost over $12,000 so it was more than just a little cut. They also found that a necklace was imbedded in her injury and it had to be surgically removed, would someone do that to themselves?
6. They also said that paramedics were delayed in their assistance to Damon.
7. The evidence that the knife was used to cut the screen was impeached
8. There is also a lot more about the 5th amendment, for example, Darlie agreed to speak to police so they could find the murderer however during the trial investigators pleaded the 5th during cross-examination.
9. Darin also admitted that he had considered an insurance scam and had gone as far as to contact Darlies' stepfather about contacting someone who could fake a break-in.
As of March 6th, 2019 the Innocents Project is involved in this case. This website has everything, from quotes to autopsy reports of Devon and Damon so if you are interested go check it out.
In 2008 Darlie was granted a renewed DNA test however as of today nothing has come of it
Many people believe that the silly string video really was the end of it for Darlie, they think that if they had no shown that she might be free today.
Darlie Rotier is now 59 sitting on death row, no date has been scheduled for her execution.