The Daily Times
Published June 24, 2009
Convicted child killer Darlie Lynn Routier sits on death row waiting for a new round of court-ordered DNA testing a year after the highest criminal appeals court in the state ordered that evidence be re-examined.
Her attorney says the results could substantiate Routier’s claims that an unidentified intruder murdered her two sons.
Arrested for killing her sons in their family home in Dallas in 1996, Routier was tried, convicted and sentence to death in Kerrville. More than a decade later, Routier, 38, continues to advocate her innocence from death row.
In June 2008, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled unanimously that Routier was entitled to re-testing of several pieces of forensic evidence, using more advanced methods not available during the trial.
“DNA testing has improved since those items were originally tested. So the court felt it was appropriate to order re-testing on those pieces of evidence that failed to yield a result the first time,” said Lisa Smith, an assistant district attorney in Dallas.
Following the state court’s decision, a federal judge ordered additional DNA testing of a much broader range of evidence in November 2008. But in April, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Routier funding for the federally ordered testing until after the more limited state testing was completed.
“We were trying to coordinate both sets of tests, and that is what slowed us up there for about six months,” said Stephen Cooper, a Dallas attorney representing Routier.
Cooper said state-ordered tests most likely will be conducted this summer. If those tests fail to exonerate Routier, he said they once again will seek funding for the federal testing.
In June of 1996, Routier’s sons, Damon, 5, and Devon, 6, were stabbed to death in the middle of the night. First responders arrived on scene to find Routier with several less severe knife wounds, including one across her throat, which she claimed to have received while fighting off an intruder.
Days ofer their murder, Routier was charged with the death of both children, but she was only tried and convicted in the death of Damon. Prosecutors pointed toward circumstantial evidence of the family’s sliding financial state as motivation for the killings.
Routier remains on death row at the women’s prison in Gatesville.
Since 1994, 38 individuals have been exonerated in Texas by DNA testing, according to the Innocence Project of Texas.