Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Darlie Routier: Doting Mother/Deadly Mother

The Prosecution

The trial would last nearly a month. Proceedings began with the introduction of the first witness for the State, Dr. Joanie McLaine from the medical examiner's office. Dr. McLaine explained the two defense wounds on Damon's body, indicating that he had struggled with his attacker before dying.

Coroner Janice Townsend-Parchman described the differences between the children's' savage wounds and Darlie's hesitation wounds, suggesting Darlie inflicted her wounds on herself.

Officer Waddell, the first policeman on the scene the morning of June 6, testified to the carnage that confronted him inside the Routier house when he entered. Jury members were shown crime scene photographs, which detailed the aftermath of the violence. 

Following this dramatic play, paramedic Jack Kolbye related heart-tugging testimony of tending to little Damon and watching, despite any given life-saving measurements, the boy's final struggle for air through bloody, slashed lungs. 

The first week's witness presentations ended on a very negative note for Darlie Lynn Routier. Following Kolbye's vivid story, fellow paramedic Larry Byford, who examined her in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, claimed that during the entire trip she didn't ask once about the condition of her children.

Over the next couple of weeks, verbal shrapnel continued to tear the accused apart, word by word, despite the defense's attempts for cover. Kicking off the second week of the prosecution's assault were two members of the Rowlett police force, Officer David Maynes, who discussed some of the evidence uncovered from the crime scene (including a section of white carpeting bearing Damon's bloodied handprint), and fingerprint expert Charles Hamilton, who, basically, told the jury that the only prints uncovered at the scene were Darlie's and her two children's'.

Investigator James Cron next detailed his search of a possible pursuer's flight through the Routier home, through the utility hall and garage, a very careful and scientifically based trek that failed to turn up clues of there ever having been an intruder. Summarizing, he said, "After my initial walk-through, I thought someone in the family had committed the murders and staged the scene. The further I got into my investigation, the more convinced I became."

Charles Linch, a trace-evidence expert, took the stand. Linch, an analyst for the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, supported Cron's claims. It was impossible, said he, for an intruder to have left the scene of the crime without leaving a trail of blood. Hammering this point home for the benefit of the court, the prosecution next delivered blood expert Tom Bevel, who professorially illustrated the velocity and direction of the blood found on Darlie's nightshirt. His finding was that her sons' blood found on the nightshirt had been literally sprayed onto it while she was in the act of various upswing motions in other words, stabbing/slicing gestures.

The state's final witness after weeks of hard-hitters was the hardest hitter of all, the FBI's special agent Al Brantley. He first listed the reasons why he disregarded an intruder among them, that the screen would not have been cut, but removed, and that the positioning of the Routier house, on a cul-de-sac and with a high fence, would have discouraged a burglar or rapist.

He addressed motive. Had a thief called, Darlie's jewelry, which was in the open and very visible, would have been taken. And as for attempted rape, as Darlie had suggested, sexual offenders assailing a woman would not have killed her children but used them as leverage to get her to submit.

And discussing the savagery expended on the young victims, he theorized that the attack was personal and done in extreme anger. Brantley concluded: "Someone who knew those children very well murdered them."

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