Real Names: Devon and Damon Routier
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Rowlett, Texas
Date: June 6, 1996
Details: One night in June 1996, Darlie Routier was sleeping on the sofa in her family room while her two sons, Devon and Damon, slept on the floor near her. Her husband, Darin, and third son, Drake, were asleep upstairs when she awoke to a person standing over her and screamed for Darin. According to her memories, the assailant fled the house after she screamed, dropping a knife on the way out. Darin meanwhile began CPR on his sons who had been badly stabbed as Darlie stood by watching. By time paramedics arrived, Devon was already dead, and Damon died on the way to the hospital.
Darlie was treated for cuts and wounds across her body; one gash in her throat came close to severing a major artery. Instead of pursuing another possible assailant, the police soon directed all their investigation against her since the evidence at the scene showed no signs of an intruder in the house. They found undisturbed dust on a slashed window and noticed that the blood trail never left the house, signs that suggested that there had been no entry by another person. However, investigators believed it was possible to enter the house through the window without affecting the dust. A hair believed to be Darlie's was connected to one of the officers. Foreign fingerprints found in the house were never identified. A sock found outside the house had the boys' blood on it, and not one drop of hers which was everywhere else. The fact that it had been violent break-ins in the area at the same time of other houses was considered unrelated to the murders. It was entirely possible that evidence was contaminated in the collection process.
The investigators also noted that there was cast-off blood on the back of Darlie's shirt that belonged to Devon and Damon, suggesting that as she stabbed the boys and raised the knife behind her, the blood was deposited on the back of her shirt. Another key piece of evidence was found on a knife in the knife block of the Routier home. It had fibers on it that matched those of the screen that had been cut. At her trial, it was suggested it was too dark and quick for her to have made an identification of her attacker and even though she claims she slept through the attack of her sons and herself, none of her injuries were life-threatening. A videotape of her behavior at a birthday party thrown for her son at the cemetery while she was on medication was used against her. She was subsequently accused of killing her sons over a life insurance policy, which was only for $5,000 per child or $10,000 total; her family claimed that it was barely enough to cover the cost of the funerals. The main motive for the murders was the overall financial situation that the Routiers were in. Prosecutors believe that Darlie wanted to continue spending money despite a large amount of debt, and that killing her sons would lighten her burden and expenses. In the end, the jury convicted her of murder and she was sentenced to death.
Her family and friends rallied in her defense while she was convicted of the murder of Damon. They believe that there was significant evidence found at the scene that suggested that the evidence against Darlie was mishandled and faulty. A hair believed to be hers was instead connected to one of the officers. A fingerprint found in the house was never identified. A sock found outside the house had the boys' blood on it, and not one drop of hers which was everywhere else. The fact that there had been violent break-ins in the area at the same time of other houses was considered unrelated to the murders. It was entirely possible that evidence was contaminated in the collection process. One juror on her case changed his opinion of her after re-examining photos of her injuries, and he is now convinced he accidentally convicted an innocent woman while the real killer went unnoticed. Darlie now sits on death row in prison; many of her supporters still have a hard time accepting her as the murderer of her sons. Unless significant new evidence is discovered that persuades the police or prosecution's evidence, it is very likely that she will be executed for the murder of her sons.
Suspects: The Routiers believe that the murders were a sexual assault gone awry, and that a serial rapist was responsible. A man who commited several rapes throughout the Rowlett area with similar M.O. to the murders, who entered windows of the homes, acosted the victims with knives from the kitchen and wore tube socks on the hands to avoid leaving fingerprints, was suggested as the real killer. This unidentified figure was arrested for the rapes in 2001, and the Routiers consider him a suspect.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 24, 2001 episode. It was also on Forensic Files and The New Detectives.
Results: Unresolved. Darlie and her attorneys have conceded that she is the only possible killer, as noted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on May 21, 2003. A request for retesting of a limited number of items was granted on June 18, 2008 and the parties are waiting for the results. Only if they show the actual existence of an intruder can a court order a new trial on her claim that she is actually innocent of the crime for which she was convicted. The retesting appears to have been completed by the end of December 2012, and there is hope that the results will be announced some time in summer 2013. Right now, the evidence can't conclusively prove if she is lying or if there was another person in her house.
In 2014, a TV series Dead Again investigated Darlie's case. The investigators all came to the conclusion that she was guilty, and presented their findings to the juror who had felt she was innocent. The juror now believes that she is guilty. However, most of her supporters continue to insist that she is innocent.