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State's highest criminal court hears Darlie Routier's appeal - Baby killer may get off?
Associated Press ^ | March 27, 2002 | A/P Staff

Posted on 03/27/2002 5:47:47 PM PST by MeekOneGOP







Posted on Wed, Mar. 27, 2002



State's highest criminal court hears Darlie Routier's appeal




AUSTIN - Convicted child killer Darlie Routier should get a new trial because the transcript of her 1997 trial is filled with problems and prevents her attorneys from raising important legal questions, her attorney argued Wednesday.

"This whole record (transcript) issue is so outrageous," said her attorney, Stephen Cooper. "It impacts other fundamental constitutional rights of my client, to boot."

Arguing before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Cooper said questions surrounding the trial transcript prevent him from probing whether a conflict existed with Routier's original attorney because he also represented her husband in a hearing.

John Rolater Jr., a lawyer from the Dallas County district attorney's office, said the trial transcript is in good shape and should be used for the appeal.

Routier, a homemaker at the time, was arrested two weeks after her sons Damon, 5, and Devon, 6, were stabbed to death in their upscale Rowlett home on June 6, 1996.

Routier was tried and convicted by a Kerrville jury for Damon's death and was given a death sentence.

She has maintained her innocence and blames the stabbings on an intruder.

Attorneys for Routier had filed an appeal that raises questions about whether her husband had a role in the killings. The appeal didn't blame her husband, Darin Routier, for the crime but states that a conflict involving Darlie Routier's attorney prevented the lawyer from questioning any inconsistencies his account of the event.

The appeal alleged Darlie Routier deserves a new trial because her trial attorney had previously represented Darin Routier.

Darin Routier maintains neither he nor his wife committed the crime.

The appeal cited more than a dozen other claims of trial error.





© 2001 dfw and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.dfw.com


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: babykiller; murder; rowlett; stabbingdeaths; texas
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I used to work at the same company with Darlie and Darin Routier in the late 80s...

1 posted on 03/27/2002 5:47:47 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: Squantos; GeronL; Billie; sinkspur; Slyfox; San Jacinto; SpookBrat; COB1; DainBramage; Dallas...

Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my ping list!. . .don't be shy.
2 posted on 03/27/2002 5:50:01 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: PhiKapMom
fyi
3 posted on 03/27/2002 5:50:40 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
You worked with them? What were the Routiers like in your recollection? I remember reading some strange newspaper accounts of their behavior the night their two older sons died and in the days immediately afterward.
4 posted on 03/27/2002 5:55:07 PM PST by xJones
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To: MeeknMing
Thanks -- I used to live in Boerne just down the road from Kerrville! This is unbelieveable that she may get off on a technicality. How were they when you knew them?
5 posted on 03/27/2002 5:58:03 PM PST by PhiKapMom
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To: MeeknMing
And your opinion on their guilt or innocence would be........
6 posted on 03/27/2002 5:58:07 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: xJones
What were the Routiers like in your recollection?

The short story is Darlie had her own clique at work and if you weren't part of it,
you weren't anything. Darin was more social and amicable........
7 posted on 03/27/2002 5:59:32 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: PhiKapMom
Thanks -- I used to live in Boerne just down the road from Kerrville!. . . .How were they when you knew them?
I went to the Lion's Club camp in Kerrville a long time ago.....See #7
8 posted on 03/27/2002 6:03:04 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
And your opinion on their guilt or innocence would be........

I followed the case very closely. My opinion is that the forensic evidence is very damning.
She's guilty, no doubt, IMHO - based on the forensics.......

"Their?" She is guilty. I think Darin had nothing to do with it.........

9 posted on 03/27/2002 6:06:54 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
Can imagine that gives you a strange feeling to actually know these people!
10 posted on 03/27/2002 6:10:51 PM PST by PhiKapMom
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To: MeeknMing
I had a friend who knew Darlie in High School and swore there was no way she could have been guilty.....but I followed the case in Texas too, and thought there was just too much evidence pointing to her....... thanks for the response......
11 posted on 03/27/2002 6:14:25 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: PhiKapMom
Absolutely it does. You cannot imagine how I felt that morning I woke up and was fixing my own breakfast with the TV going and heard "Rowlett", "Babies" and "Murder" in the same sentence.

When I got to work and asked around and found out the WHO of the family, I was blown away. When the story was given on TV, the names weren't revealed.......

12 posted on 03/27/2002 6:15:23 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
You're welcomed. I'm convinced. I followed all the TV and news coverage.
13 posted on 03/27/2002 6:17:53 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
Are you in the same city? There was a tv documentary not long ago and they were VERY sympathetic toward her.....I still didn't buy their re-write of the evidence........

I got the same feeling from the Van Damm family........

14 posted on 03/27/2002 6:36:05 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
Are you in the same city? There was a tv documentary not long ago and they were VERY sympathetic toward her.....I still didn't buy their re-write of the evidence........

Yes. I live in the same city as the Routiers used to live in.......

I think I may have seen the same "re-write" you refer to. I don't buy it, if it's the same one I saw....

The forensic evidense was quite convincing to me. All the detail. Only HER bloody footprints. The knives in the household used in the crime. The "undisturbed dust" in the window sill the "intruder" entered the garage from. The whole nine yards.....

15 posted on 03/27/2002 6:49:38 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: PhiKapMom; ALL
I'm gonna sign off for now, folks. G'night all!
16 posted on 03/27/2002 6:55:08 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: PhiKapMom
There is no such thing as a technicality. There are constitutional rights that guarantee that the proper persons are convicted of the crimes they committed. When these rights are not honored, the defendant must be tried again. We have fought innumerable wars, spilled rivers of blood, and spent countless fortunes to preserve these rights, and when you reduce them linguistically to mere technicalities you blasphemy the millions of dead who died to preserve those rights for you. Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, J.D. Masters work in Political Philosophy, Valedictorian, BTW.
17 posted on 03/27/2002 7:07:32 PM PST by stryker
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To: stryker
We have fought innumerable wars, spilled rivers of blood, and spent countless fortunes to preserve these rights, and when you reduce them linguistically to mere technicalities you blasphemy the millions of dead who died to preserve those rights for you.

Granting a new trial based on improper transcriptions IS a technicality, your academic achievements notwithstanding (as if anybody really cares).

There's little doubt about this woman's guilt.

"Rivers of blood" weren't spilt over crap like Miranda rights.

18 posted on 03/27/2002 7:15:09 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: PhiKapMom; MeeknMing
I'm from Kerrville and I know TWO of the men who were on the jury. One was my cousin. The evidence was gruesome and they felt she did it. They always felt the husband had something to do with it. I wouldn't know, I'm just repeating what my cousin said.
19 posted on 03/27/2002 7:21:36 PM PST by SpookBrat
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
I saw that stupid documentary. She's such a liar. She belly ached the whole darn time about her own injustice and never shed a tear over her butchered babies. What a B*****!

Also, at the end of it, there was a juror on there, who had second thoughts after hearing more evidence after the case. I gotta tell ya.....that man lived two houses down from me all my childhood and he is the town dork. I can't believe they even let him serve on the jury. He is such a cheese head.

20 posted on 03/27/2002 7:26:16 PM PST by SpookBrat
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To: SpookBrat
Oh my gosh! What an interesting thing to learn about that juror! Thanks....... Yes, that piece was very "pro Darlie" wasn't it? I was a little shocked, but pieces like that on TV sway a lot of people.......

I know some don't believe the husband had anything to do with it, but how could he NOT know what happened? I don't get that at all..........

21 posted on 03/27/2002 7:57:00 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: MeeknMing
So, did she do it? Or did he? or an intruder?
22 posted on 03/27/2002 8:00:24 PM PST by Yellow Rose of Texas
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To: Yellow Rose of Texas
I lived in Dallas at the time of these murders, and followed it very closely. Since my daughter is a court reporter, when I saw that the court reporter transcribing the trial really screwed up, I was flabberghasted! The court reporter did some very strange things--like just not ever turning in pages and pages of transcripts. She was given many chances to rectify this, but just didn't ever do it. I began to wonder if she were perhaps working for the Routiers.

IMHO, the Routiers were in this together--they were experiencing money problems, and insured these kids lives shortly before they were murdered. I don't know many people who take out large insurance policies on children so young.

23 posted on 03/27/2002 8:08:51 PM PST by basil
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To: basil
Maybe I haven't been in the right place at the right time, but I can't recall seeing you for some time now. Hi, and sorry I missed the last freeper meet. Really thought i would be able to be there but my 8yr old was in a baseball tourney and was winning and had 2 games that day. they did good came in 2nd. just wanted to say hi
24 posted on 03/27/2002 8:36:53 PM PST by GUIDO
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To: MeeknMing
So you live in Rowlett. I have a friend I went to high school with that lives or did in Rowlett and he is the ASST. Police Chief in Garland Texas or was, haven't seen him since our 20th reunion in 1995. For all I know he could be Police Chief by now.
25 posted on 03/27/2002 8:41:14 PM PST by GUIDO
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To: stryker
There is no such thing as a technicality. There are constitutional rights that guarantee that the proper persons are convicted of the crimes they committed. When these rights are not honored, the defendant must be tried again. We have fought innumerable wars, spilled rivers of blood, and spent countless fortunes to preserve these rights, and when you reduce them linguistically to mere technicalities you blasphemy the millions of dead who died to preserve those rights for you. Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, J.D. Masters work in Political Philosophy, Valedictorian, BTW

I don't think anybody fought and died for some lawyer to find technicalities, loopholes, whatever you want to call it, to get guilty people off for crimes committed. People are fed up with the "If the glove don't fit, you must equit" mentality.

If this woman killed her kids she doesn't deserve a new trial because of some darn transcript!

There has never been and never will be a perfect trial. If she has a new trial, somebody will screw up enough that some lawyer can scream that her Constitional Rights have been violated. Where does it stop?

BTW, Common Sense, Ph. D.

26 posted on 03/28/2002 3:53:11 AM PST by lonestar
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; Basil; MeeknMing
Yes, that juror is a nice man, but he is such a DORK. I was watching that documentary screaming at the TV the whole time because it was so sympathetic to Darlie. Then when I saw my neighbor on there saying he made the wrong choice, I screamed even louder. It WOULD be him....GRRRRRR..... He just isn't very bright if you know what I mean.

I always know they are guilty when they shed tears over themselves but not ONE tear for the victim. She didn't cry over her babies in that documentary. I kept waiting for her to cry over them, but she didn’t.

Meek doesn't think the husband was in on it, and I guess we will never know. But I personally find their story very hard to believe. If my husband was downstairs stabbing my children so hard that the knife was stabbing the carpet underneath them...I WOULD KNOW. Surely they struggled or screamed. And people just don't break into a house in the middle of the night to stab two babies. If they want to kill your children, they remove them from the home, rape them then kill them. Her story is so unbelievable.

If she gets a new trial, she is still going to die. The forensic evidence is too strong.

27 posted on 03/28/2002 4:03:51 AM PST by SpookBrat
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To: lonestar
Common sense bump.
28 posted on 03/28/2002 4:05:16 AM PST by SpookBrat
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To: SpookBrat
Do I remember that the mother went to the graves and had a birhtday party for one of the kids, or do I have her mixed up with another mother murderer?

It's gotten to the point that if a mother doesn't kill her kids, she's a "good mother." These biological mothers make Rosie O'Donnell look good.

29 posted on 03/28/2002 4:05:26 AM PST by lonestar
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To: lonestar
Yeah, she went to their grave and sprayed silly string all over it. She was laughing, giddy, whoopin' it up, having a grand old time.

Afte they put her to death, I'm going to spray silly string on her grave. :)

30 posted on 03/28/2002 4:13:49 AM PST by SpookBrat
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; PhiKapMom; sinkspur; SpookBrat; xJones; Yellow Rose of Texas; basil; GUIDO...
I know some don't believe the husband had anything to do with it, but how could he NOT know what happened?
I don't get that at all..........

I understand exactly what you're saying. The only thing that I can contribute regarding this is that all the evidence indicated that Darlie's story does not add up and points to her guilt. I mean, the bloody footprints in he house were determined to be hers and hers alone. Only one set of bloody footprints and it was hers - no others. That's just one, there's a lot more. There was no evidence found that indicated that Darin had anything to do with it that I am aware of. I know that doesn't mean he didn't, only that a strong case cannot be made against him. Not only that, but I knew Darin a LOT more than I did Darlie. As I said previously, Darin was more open and amicable with me than Darlie was. He was just a regular guy there to do his job. And as I recall he did a good job for the company. After working for our company for several years he started his own little business and eventually quit his job where I worked, but he maintained contact with us. We in fact had him do some contract service work for our company. A little tidbit here. The afternoon before the early morning that the kids were murdered, Darin had been at our plant and had discussed with our production manager some contract work that we were going to be giving to Darin. At the time, our business was very strong and we were having trouble keeping up with it and by having Darin help it would relieve our situation. The next morning when I went to work I found out that Darin had left his car - his Jaguar - parked in our parking lot overnight. The police were notified of that the same day, so that would have been investigated by the police I'm sure.

The main point I'm trying to express is that I never had any reason to think that Darin was the type that would have anything to do with such a terrible thing like what Darlie was convicted of. Oh, one more little tidbit. About three weeks before the kids were murdered, I went into a Taco Bell here in Rowlett. It was fairly new at that time. When I walked in I glanced at someone that was sitting at a table near the corner of the store and thought to myself 'was that Darin?' But I had sort of dismissed it. After I placed my order I went back to sit and wait and he spoke to me "Hi Richard". I looked at him and said, "Darin, when I walked in I thought that was you, but I didn't recognize you with the beard." He had grown a beard and so I wasn't used to his new look. We had a short talk. I asked him how his business was doing and so forth, just small talk. They called for my order and I picked it, and as I walked out I told Darin to take it easy, see ya later. That was the last time I ever saw Darin......

Darlie, on the other hand, lived in her own world, had her own 'clique' - if you weren't part of it, you were nobody to her. Or at least, that's how I saw it. For example, on many occasions when she worked at my workplace, we would pass in the hallway and I would greet her (as I would everyone) with "good mornin'" or "howdy" or whatever, and she never once returned my greeting - absolutely not once....never. Consequently, I never did have any sort of conversation with her. That's my memory of Darlie, she was just cold. That was my impression.

31 posted on 03/28/2002 4:22:12 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
I've been very surprised at the things some people I've known have done. Would have bet a million that they never would have done, what they've done.

She sounds like a very insecure person if she still needed a "clique." That's Jr. High stuff!

32 posted on 03/28/2002 4:33:53 AM PST by lonestar
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To: basil; Yellow Rose of Texas
I lived in Dallas at the time of these murders, and followed it very closely. Since my daughter is a court reporter, when I saw that the court reporter transcribing the trial really screwed up, I was flabberghasted! The court reporter did some very strange things--like just not ever turning in pages and pages of transcripts. She was given many chances to rectify this, but just didn't ever do it. I began to wonder if she were perhaps working for the Routiers.

IMHO, the Routiers were in this together--they were experiencing money problems, and insured these kids lives shortly before they were murdered. I don't know many people who take out large insurance policies on children so young.

Yes, the transcripts were really messed up. The court reporter did a sloppy job and I think was disciplined for this. I don't recall exactly, but didn't they like 'disbar' her or something like that?

Regarding the insurance, I recall that was discussed early on in the investigation and I thought that was logical motive if they killed the babies for a big sum of insurance money. What I recall though, was that they had insurance on the kids, but it was NOT a huge amount. It seems to me that they were covered for $5,000 each, which would cover the funeral expenses. I wouldn't call that a windfall or a motive to kill the kids though.....

They were struggling with money problems. I think that Darlie had expensive tastes and Darin catered to her every want and need and was so proud of her. It did cause him financial problems though, and in the end he lost his home in Rowlett.

33 posted on 03/28/2002 4:41:42 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: lonestar
It's gotten to the point that if a mother doesn't kill her kids, she's a "good mother." These biological mothers make Rosie O'Donnell look good.

Actually it's worse than that. There have been whackjobs running around saying that Yates was a good mother (other than that little bathtub thing.)

34 posted on 03/28/2002 4:50:22 AM PST by hopespringseternal
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To: hopespringseternal
From all accounts, she was as good a mother as one could expect with five little stair-steps and a mental illness.

I wish she had killed their father or herself instead.

35 posted on 03/28/2002 4:56:09 AM PST by lonestar
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To: lonestar
She sounds like a very insecure person if she still needed a "clique." That's Jr. High stuff!

Yes. I think she was immature. Remember though, when she worked at our company it was in the late 80s/very early 90s and she was in her very early 20s though. I think she left the company to have a family. She may have been pregnant with her first child when she left, in fact.

So she wasn't too far out of junior high school in years! :O)

36 posted on 03/28/2002 5:03:56 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; PhiKapMom; sinkspur; SpookBrat; xJones; Yellow Rose of Texas; basil...
Hey, guys! I just did a Google Search just for grins to see if I could find more info on Darlie. There is a huge amount on that search, and it looks like really good info, too. Here is the Google Search with 4 pages of links. I might peruse those today and perhaps post some relevant things regarding the Routiers and this case???............

Google Search: "Darlie Routier Biography"
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Darlie+Routier+Biography&btnG=Google+Search

37 posted on 03/28/2002 5:13:15 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
You could very well be right about the amount of insurance money--it just seems to me that it was more than that. I remember discussions going on about them having recently taken out insurance policies on the kids, though, and it sure seems to me like it was more than that.

There have been so many horrible episodes of mothers killing their children in recent years, that it's hard to keep up with them all. I happened to see an episode the other night on Susan Smith, the woman who drowned her 2 kids in a lake. It's just sickening!

38 posted on 03/28/2002 5:25:02 AM PST by basil
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To: SpookBrat;lonestar
On one documentary I saw about this case, I seem to recall that the jurors thought the silly string episode was the clincher on Darlie's guilt. The videotape was damning, and it's just impossible to fathom how a "grieving mother" could sing and dance and have such a jolly good time at her children's graves just days after their murders.
39 posted on 03/28/2002 5:33:44 AM PST by mountaineer
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To: basil
Susan Smith was the worst, IMO. She could have given the father of her kids custordy if her boyfriend didn't want them.
40 posted on 03/28/2002 5:34:05 AM PST by lonestar
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To: MeeknMing
Why do you think she will go free?
41 posted on 03/28/2002 5:37:25 AM PST by cinFLA
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To: ALL

ABC News’ Sylvia Chase interviewed Darlie
Routier on Death Row. (ABCNEWS.com)

http://abcnews.go.com/media/OnAir/images/abc_routier2_000918_h.jpg


Darlie Routier maintains her innocence in the deaths of Devon, 6, and
Damon, 5. (ABCNEWS.com)

http://abcnews.go.com/media/OnAir/images/abc_routier_000918_t.jpg

42 posted on 03/28/2002 5:57:00 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: SpookBrat
Afte they put her to death, I'm going to spray silly string on her grave. :)

Oh - will you wear short cut off jeans, chomp on gum and laugh and smile too? Please? I'll even buy you a case of silly string.........

43 posted on 03/28/2002 6:02:59 AM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: cinFLA
Why do you think she will go free?

I don't. She will never go free. The transcripts are the issue here. That may cause a retrial.
I think eventually she will likely get the sentence given tho - the death penalty.
See my #31, 37 and 42.
44 posted on 03/28/2002 6:03:47 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
What I find interesting is the spin in this story. To read it, you would think there was something so terribly wrong that the highest criminal court - the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - needs to hear this case when, in fact, the Court is required to review all death penalty cases (Texas rule of appellate procedure 71.1).
45 posted on 03/28/2002 6:05:35 AM PST by writmeister
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To: ALL

Darlie Lynn Routier 999220
2305 Ransom Road
Gatesville, TX 76528 USA


http://ccadp.org/darlienow.gif
46 posted on 03/28/2002 6:12:15 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: SpookBrat;MeeknMing
The fact that Darin was in the house while this was going on, then saw the "evidence" and still believes his wife is innocent is why I wondered if he was in on it all along.

I can't imagine seeing such flimsy evidence and having my children murdered and not realizing my spouse had done it. But, if it was a concerted effort I could see the strong stand of innocence being maintained.

Meek, the jag being left at your office is new to me. Why in the world would he leave his car, any car, overnight like that? That makes no sense...... unless he didn't want it in the garage for some reason......didn't the "intruder" come through the garage? Did they make more of that and I just missed it?

This is so interesting hearing from you two....

47 posted on 03/28/2002 6:25:20 AM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; SpookBrat; ALL; PhiKapMom; sinkspur; xJones; Yellow Rose of Texas; basil...

Routier family (Associated Press)
http://crimelibrary.com/fillicide/routier/images/APG485029%20Darlie,%20Darin,%20Damon%20&%20Devon.jpg
The fact that Darin was in the house while this was going on, then saw the "evidence" and still believes his wife is innocent is why I wondered if he was in on it all along.

I can't imagine seeing such flimsy evidence and having my children murdered and not realizing my spouse had done it. But, if it was a concerted effort I could see the strong stand of innocence being maintained.

Meek, the jag being left at your office is new to me. Why in the world would he leave his car, any car, overnight like that? That makes no sense...... unless he didn't want it in the garage for some reason......didn't the "intruder" come through the garage? Did they make more of that and I just missed it?

I understand your wonderings, believe me. I went through the same thing beginning on June 6, 1996 - the date of the kids murder.

First of all, to kill 2 of your own children is bizarre regardless of who did it - Darlie, Darin or both. The evidence all pointed to Darlie as I've stated earlier. The evidence I have seen is damning to Darlie, and nothing I've seen points to Darin. If Darin was complicit, I would think that there should be evidence of it, but there's not. All I can judge from is the evidence, and there's plenty of it, all pointing to Darlie.

Regarding the car, I admit that sounds so strange for him to leave his car in our company's parking lot, especially since he didn't work there anymore. So I did some checking right after it happened and found out that it wasn't the first time he had left his car there and in fact he did that quite often. He had worked at our company for 3-5 years or so, and he had friends there still at the time and our company gave him contract work. I figure he probably went out with Bryan, our production manager, or some other of his old friends. He may have been partying and got a ride home and would pick his car up later? Best I can figure.

Oh, btw - I meant to include another tidbit on my post on #31 and forgot. The date of the murder - June 6, 1996? That was my 12th anniversary with the company. I started work on June 6, 1984. I always thought that was so strange.......


Here is an interesting link that includes a recording of the 911 call Darlie made at 2:31 that morning after she killed the kids:

Million Dollar Mysteries: Darlie Routier
http://www.fox.com/mdmystery/103/routier.htm

The 911 Call Darlie Made
http://www.fox.com/mdmystery/103/routier_911_call.htm




http://www.fox.com/mdmystery/103/images/routier_crime_scene_photo_06.jpg

48 posted on 03/28/2002 7:41:10 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: ALL
WFAA TV Video: Includes Interview with
Darlie's Mom and Footage of Darin

http://www.wfaa.com/popups/03-02/28wfaa020327_am_routier.html

Here's the Dallas Morning News version of today's report. It's better than the original post, btw......

Court hears Routier's appeal
http://www.dallasnews.com/localnews/stories/032802dnmetdarlie.d1295.html



Court hears Routier's appeal

Attorney argues that reconstructed transcript merits new trial

03/28/2002

By HOLLY BECKA / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN - After five years of charting unprecedented and often bizarre legal waters, Darlie Routier's direct appeal reached a turning point Wednesday when the state's highest criminal court began considering her claims of trial error.

Arguing before a gallery packed with the death row inmate's family and supporters, appellate attorney J. Stephen Cooper urged the Court of Criminal Appeals to give his client a new trial because her transcript was illegally repaired and is still missing a key conflict-of-interest hearing.

"This whole record issue is so outrageous in my experience and so unprecedented," Mr. Cooper told the court. "It's my No. 1 issue because it impacts other fundamental constitutional rights of my client, to boot."

Video
Prosecutor John Rolater Jr. argued that the faulty transcript was corrected by legally acceptable standards and that "there is nothing lost." He also said no conflict of interest existed.

Ms. Routier was convicted of fatally stabbing her 5-year-old son, Damon. She was also accused in the same 1996 attack of murdering her 6-year-old son, Devon, but was never tried for that crime. Ms. Routier has maintained her innocence, saying an intruder attacked her and her boys in their Rowlett home.

*
AP
Darlie Kee (left), mother of convicted child-killer Darlie Routier, receives a friend's support outside the court.
The nine appellate judges have no timeline in which to rule. The court will either grant Ms. Routier a new trial or not based on her 14 claims of trial or procedural error, a primary complaint being her reconstructed transcript.

If her conviction is upheld, the second phase of her state appeal a writ of habeas corpus based on new evidence would get under way. Federal appeals could follow.

Ms. Routier's family members say it has been a long wait.

"I'm at least relieved that we're finally at the beginning part of her appeal," said Darin Routier, her husband.

Darlie Kee, Ms. Routier's mother, said she thought the proceeding went well.

"I think they'll look at the points and study everything, and, hopefully, the results will be what we want. ... I'm encouraged by Mr. Cooper's work on this case," she said.

*
AP
Husband Darin Routier attends court in Austin.
Ms. Routier's 1997 conviction was followed by years of legal wrangling and a protracted effort to fix the error-riddled transcript.

The original court reporter was first held in contempt for not finishing the transcript on time and later caught lying about her bungled work. Threatened with perjury prosecution, Sandra Halsey admitted she had made audio recordings of the trial.

A judge ordered court reporter Susan Simmons to try to fix the transcript using Ms. Halsey's steno notes and tapes. Ms. Simmons testified that she repaired and certified all but 54 pages. She made a new version of those pages based on Ms. Halsey's steno notes but wouldn't vouch for their accuracy because she found errors in the notes.

Ms. Simmons said her reconstructed version relied mainly on the audiotapes, which Ms. Routier's attorney argued Wednesday violated the law. The law says a court reporter's notes are the official record, he noted.

Mr. Rolater argued that Ms. Simmons didn't create a new transcript but merely re-edited Ms. Halsey's work with the tapes, which he said is standard practice.

Mr. Cooper also contended that the steno notes and tapes omit a key hearing on defense attorney Doug Mulder's conflict of interest. Mr. Cooper said the conflict arose because Mr. Mulder first represented Darin Routier, whom prosecutors have called the only other suspect, in a gag-order hearing related to the case.

The missing hearing established whether Ms. Routier was properly told of her rights and waived the conflict.

Judge Cathy Cochran asked Mr. Cooper to explain the conflict.

"He's represented Darin, and then he turns around and says [to jurors] that Darin's the killer?" Mr. Cooper responded. "Mulder would be hung out to dry by the governing bodies in our profession."

After Mr. Mulder became Ms. Routier's attorney, the trial judge noted on his docket that he heard testimony on the conflict issue, but the hearing isn't found in the transcript, Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Rolater contended that there's no proof that such a hearing was conducted. He argued that Mr. Mulder never had a conflict because he and Mr. Routier never had a substantial attorney-client relationship. He noted that Mr. Routier was never charged or even called as a state's witness.

Mr. Routier maintains that neither he nor his wife committed the crime.

"Nothing is missing in this case," Mr. Rolater said later. "There is part of the record that is not certified, but that's not lost, that's not missing. The transcript is as good as a transcript can be in this court."

Mr. Cooper noted that he had subpoenaed witnesses for a hearing on the conflict matter and other issues that was abruptly canceled. He said the law does not require him to produce affidavits as proof.

"It's frustrating, although not untypical, for a prosecutor to resist mightily in the trial court from giving me a hearing where I can prove all these things and then come into this court and say, 'Well, he never proved anything.' "

E-mail hbecka@dallasnews.com


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/localnews/stories/032802dnmetdarlie.d1295.html

49 posted on 03/28/2002 8:23:40 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: getgoing; Maxwell
fyi
50 posted on 03/28/2002 8:41:07 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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