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ABC’s crew filmed outside the former Routier house in Rowlett. Courtesy of Lincoln Square Productions

A couple of months have passed since an ABC docu-series devoted four one-hour episodes in prime time to the case of Darlie Routier, the Rowlett homemaker accused in the stabbing deaths of her two young sons and sent to Death Row in February 1997 (“Defending Darlie,” June 6). As summer begins to fade into fall, Darlie’s widespread supporters are keeping the heat turned up on the Dallas County justice system that they believe wrongfully convicted her through sexist character judgments, tunnel vision, and junk science.

Organizers say they are coordinating with both the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas Police Department on three consecutive days of marches outside the Frank Crowley Courts Building on North Riverfront Boulevard, across R.L. Thornton Freeway from downtown Dallas. The protests are set for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct. 12-14. The Friday march will be from noon until 6 p.m. and the weekend demonstrations from noon until 3 p.m. October was chosen so that participants would not have to endure the Texas summer heat. Plans are still evolving, but at the time of this writing, the RSVPs stand at about 100, according to Michelle Nelson of Tampa, Florida, a former long-time factory worker now pursuing a degree in psychology.

Travel expenses will put a strain on the budgets of many who are planning or hoping to attend, she said. Kristine Bunch of Indianapolis, Indiana, is hoping to be able to save enough money by then to make the trip. Bunch, who was wrongfully convicted of setting a fire that killed her young son, was interviewed on camera for the docu-series, The Last Defense. She said that, like Darlie, she was judged on her appearance and even the song she chose to play at her son’s funeral, a Bon Jovi number. Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” a favorite of the Routier boys, was played at their service and was used against Darlie by prosecutors, even though the song had nothing to do with whether she had killed her children.

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“I believe in Darlie’s innocence, and I want others to hear me speak for her,” said Bunch, who was jailed almost exactly one year prior to Darlie’s arrest. Bunch served 17 years in prison before the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that she be given a new trial. The prosecution ultimately dropped the charges.

Appellate attorney Stephen Cooper of Dallas calls the effort on Darlie’s behalf “amazing.”

“This story has always been global and certainly national,” he said. “Regular, run-of-the-mill, non-activist people take this to heart and choose to not sit on their couch and [to] actually do something.”

Cooper said that public opinion has “turned significantly” in his client’s favor since the airing of The Last Defense. ABC devoted considerably more airtime to Darlie than other television shows that have focused on her case over the years, which resulted in more information being presented to the public. Previous shows were single episodes, and most encompassed one hour, commercials included.

The case is so problematic, though, that even ABC’s multiple episodes didn’t cover everything. For instance, court reporter Sandra Halsey’s trial transcript was riddled with an unprecedented 33,000 errors – 40 to 50 percent of which were deemed “substantive” by a court reporter appointed by then-state District Judge Robert Francis to clean it up. Still, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals accepted the cobbled-together version, even though the Francis-appointed court reporter had not been present at the trial.

Activists will march against what they view as the overall unfairness behind Darlie’s conviction and death sentence, but they also will make a specific demand: that the state run through the FBI’s database a partial fingerprint found in blood at the Eagle Drive crime scene. The partial print was on a sofa table near the family room couch where Darlie said she had been sleeping on the night of June 6, 1996, when an unknown intruder attacked her and her two oldest boys. Devon, 6, and Damon, 5, were asleep on the floor in front of the television.

Baby Drake, then almost 8 months, was asleep upstairs with his father, Darin. They were unharmed. Darlie, though, wasn’t. Her throat was slashed to within two millimeters of her carotid artery, and her right forearm was cut to the bone. She also had other knife injuries, such as cuts across the underside of her fingers. University of Kentucky forensic pathologist Greg Davis stated on camera for The Last Defense that the cuts on her arm and fingers were clearly defensive wounds and that, in his view, none of her injuries were self-inflicted.

Rowlett police and Dallas County prosecutors (one of whom is also named Greg Davis) convinced a jury in conservative Kerrville that Darlie had inflicted the injuries upon herself in the staging of the crime scene, taking care not to damage her breast implants. The sexism used to judge the then-26-year-old wife and mother and the state’s illogical theory about her were the subject of my 2015 book, Dateline: Purgatory –– Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death, published by TCU Press.

Darlie’s appellate attorneys –– Cooper, Richard Smith, and Richard Burr –– believe that the bloody partial fingerprint known as state’s evidence 85-J may belong to the real killer. If so, his fingerprints could be in the national Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The case could conceivably be solved simply by running the print.

Crime scene investigator James Cron testified at trial that the print could belong to a child –– presumably, one of the dead boys –– but Darlie’s appellate lawyers have argued otherwise. In 2008, then-U.S. District Judge Royal Ferguson of the Western District of Texas granted the appellate team’s motion for discovery, allowing for additional DNA testing and the running of the fingerprint through AFIS. However, the DNA testing, which was granted at the state level by the Court of Criminal Appeals and is still ongoing due to backlogged labs, put a temporary halt to federal proceedings, which has left 85-J hanging for a decade now.

At the time the brakes were put on 85-J, the state was arguing that it had no authority to run the print through the national database and could not do so without risking its future access to that system, since 85-J does not involve an active case. Cooper said that the Department of Justice later sent an advisory stating that the agency is not a party in the proceedings and therefore cannot be ordered to run the print.

Organizers of the marches are hoping that the public will view the government’s stonewalling of 85-J as an absurd and grave injustice. The Crowley Courts Building won’t be open for two of the three days they’ll be protesting, but Nelson noted that demonstrators will be in view of passing motorists. The scheduling, she said, was done in such a way as to accommodate supporters who will be traveling from as far away as Canada.

Nelson conceived of the hashtag #runtheprint to call attention to the marches and also created a website, Teamfreedarlie-march.webnode.com, where details about the demonstrations are posted and will be updated if needed.  

Although some Darlie allies hooked up with one another online after watching The Last Defense, a number have been convinced of her innocence for years. Nelson said she connected with Texas defender Stephanie Hopkins a year ago after doing an online search for supporters. She said she has been concerned about the case since about 2000, when she spotted a magazine with photos of Darlie’s injuries at a grocery store in Des Arc, Arkansas, her hometown.

“I picked up the magazine, and I read it,” Nelson said. “And I thought, ‘This woman is innocent.’ ”

49 COMMENTS

  1. What the state’s prosecutors have done to Darlie and family of victims is criminal. Toby Shook and Greg Davis would not be known except for their pathological lying and changing facts. They should be in prison. They don’t even know facts of their wounds ( Devon wounds did not come out his back) they can’t remember their names and I have the complete paperwork on the loan Darin tried to get for me and so you will never hear that lie again.
    I would like these people disbarred and in prison for all they have done. America don’t accept lies from these people in power who are in it for career. Devon and Damon would be sickened by these two.
    RUN THE PRINTS TEST THE DNA.

    • Mrs Kee I am genuinely sorry for what this tragedy has caused you. I haven’t been mindful of how awful my comments were and I apologize. I want to be a supporter. Non supporters want to hear why Darlie is factually not guilty not why she’s procedurally not guilty. For your daughters sake, it would clear up serious unanswered questions that could change minds. It could make a difference of 150 or 1000 people coming to the March For Darlie. It could save your daughters life. I would like for you to address Darlies letters from county jail about Glenn Mize and Gary Austin. I would like for you to address the 911 when Darlie says “someone came in here and intentionally did it Darin”. Why did she have to convince him? Thank you in advance if you answer. If it’s not beneficial to answer I understand that as well, anyway thank you.

      • Jade, if I may, there’s one thing we need to keep in mind with regard to those letters written from jail. If I’m not mistaken, there were two different PI’s working on the case and when they would give Darlie information, she would grasp onto it like a lifeline. She’s in jail, on trial for her very life, and meanwhile she knows that someone else did this and he is walking around free. She sits there, day after day, with nothing to do but wrack her brains trying to remember, desperately trying to think of anyone at all that could possibly have done it. When the PI’s would give her updates, her mind would kick into overdrive and she would take that information and create conjectures in her mind, trying to make sense of it all. There were no lies in those letters, only misinformation. There were also letters written to Darlie from others that would tell her about leads or suspects, getting her all riled up. However, the prosecution carefully picked and chose the letters they confronted her with. They chose only the ones they felt could make her look like a liar. Her anger at this tactic is understandable. It is yet ANOTHER violation, another loss of privacy on top of everything else, another basic human right being stripped away in an attempt to manipulate the jury to see something that was never there. If the tears she shed on the witness stand were for herself, she had every reason and right to shed them.

        Many people claim to hear defensiveness in Darlie’s voice on the 911 call when she says, “Someone who did it intentionally walked in here and did this, Darin.” I don’t hear defensiveness, I hear good old fashioned female exasperation. It sounds like Darin was stuck on the idea that this was some kind of robbery gone wrong, and he may have kept asking about anything being taken, and she finally snapped at him. Like, dude, do you not understand what I am saying to you? Somebody came here to purposely hurt us, and that’s exactly what they did! Without knowing exactly what Darin said to her that prompted that statement, it’s open to interpretation and may not necessarily mean anything at all.

        • But on those letters Darlie said “I know it’s him! I saw him!”. How could she say she saw him but then not tell the police who she saw? There’s no reason to lie. And what was Darin accusing her of on tne 911 call when she answered him back “someone came in here and intentionally did it Darin!”. He sure accused her of something. I heard it with my own ears. And Darlie lied about seeing an innocent man in her house. Why write letters to relatives if she saw the killer? Why didn’t she tell the police before she ended up in jail? Yeah, something sounds extremely fishy to me. And no one, no family, not Darlie, not even her post conviction defense attorneys ever publically addresses this. Something is really wrong if those things aren’t addressed. Those things are suspicious. Very suspicious

        • And I don’t mind if you and not Mrs Kee answers my questions. But someone should answer them. And saying something not true is a lie. A lie is a lie. There are lies in those letters. Is lying by saying those letters don’t have lies in them. And the 911call. Someone has to explain why I heard Darlie say “someone came in here and intentionally did it Darin!”. Those two things have to be answered or I feel I’m being deceived. The public wants to hear the truth from those involved. It can’t be any other way. I thought I was finally going to hear about those letters and about what she said to Darin. I thought for sure after TLD I was going to be a supporter. Why take this to the public of the public’s questions aren’t going to be answered?

          • Jade, my point is that what she wrote in those letters was not manufactured out of thin air. She said those things because the ideas were planted in her head. When she said, “I saw him” this was months after her arrest. She said it because at the time she truly believed it. Have you ever studied psychology? The mind is a very powerful thing. When she closed her eyes and tried to picture the man from that night, her mind would superimpose the image of Glenn over the face of the actual attacker. This is called confabulation and it’s very common with victims who are unable to clearly recall exactly what happened. If you don’t think it’s possible to be face to face with an assailant and not be able to describe him, let me tell you from personal experience that it most definitely is.

            A lie is a statement made with the intent to deliberately deceive. I could turn around and say you are lying when you claim you hear Darin accuse Darlie with your own ears. I don’t believe you hear any such thing; you are simply assuming that’s what he said because of how you interpret her response. I know you are not actually lying, you are simply stating what you believe, just as Darlie was when she wrote the letters.

            One other thing to keep in mind is that when Darlie made the statement, “Someone who did it intentionally walked in here and did this, Darin,” is that Officer David Waddell was inside the house at that time. Waddell’s testimony was all about making Darlie look as bad as possible, so if Darin had actually accused her of the murders, it’s a safe bet we would have heard all about it in his statements and testimony.

          • Critical thinker shut their reply off. Imagine that. I know what a lie is. Everybody knows what a lie is. Nobody plants lies in people’s heads to make them say “it was Glenn Mize I know it was Jim because I saw him”. Don’t insult people’s intelligence. Those letters were lies if nobody addresses them. Maybe they think if they ignore it it will go away. I want Kathy Cruz or Barbara Davis or Richard Smith, Cooper or better yet Darlie herself to explain the letters about Glenn Mize and Gary Austin

    • So i took of my hate and said imagine that..you taking up for your mudering daughter.. signs, signs everywhere there is signs saying she is gulity.

  2. Continued prayers and support for Darlie Lynn and her family! Her extended family is huge, growing daily. I’m thankful to have been blessed by her friendship.
    Justice and Truth in The Name of Jesus😇

  3. Darlie is guilty her family knows it and her execution date is comming nearly. Her Supporters are becoming less and less through the years . We alle know the truth. DARLIE DO IT.

  4. Darlie is guilty her family knows it and her execution date is comming nearly. Her Supporters are becoming less and less through the years . We alle know the truth. DARLIE DO IT.

  5. Hang in there Darlie ! Those of us who have taken the time to go thru every shred of evidence in this case knows your innocent ! It was nothing more than character assination. Disgusting ! Hang on keep your dignity like you have from day one. We love you .❤🙏

  6. I have not seen one single fact or piece of evidence that proves her guilt, however I have seen her horrific defensive wounds that convince me that she is innocent. I am still waiting to hear, and would love to know, how in the world did she manage to give those bruises and knife wounds to herself? And why? Please, enlighten me. I have not yet had the privilege to hear anyone explain this. And please don’t tell me that she threw herself on the ground, that’s about as pathetic as telling me that she brutally murdered not all 3, but only 2 out of her 3 children. Because that seems logical IF it was about the $10k or even that her children were ruining her being an at-home-mom lifestyle. See my sarcasm here? And what about the sock, in the random alley, 2 blocks away? Once again, a logical decision for a mom on a killing spree. Then Darlie decides to cut her own throat, to really convince the insurance company (or whomever) that there really was an intruder, which nearly killed her. That seems logical… majority of false insurance claims typically have homeowners slitting their own throats. Logical. And don’t forget that with her throat slit, Darlie calls 911, NOT her husband. Why is that!? That is the greatest defense that there was, especially IF she cut her own throat. She never would have called 911. Yet, she woke up in a state of panic, with an actual intruder in her house who attacked her and her two boys. I am not saying that Darlie’s husband is to blame directly, but I am fairly confident that there is a link between his burglary scams and this horrific crime. My heart hurts for Darlie and her family. I look forward to the results of the DNA and scientific findings of this case and when the true murderer is caught.

  7. I want to be there so bad. My next doctors visit will decide if I can make it because of my broken back. I want to be there so badly. Please pray I’ll be healed enough my doctor will give me permission. I truly believe Darlie Lynn will be set free. Barbara Davis

  8. Darlie routier is innocent. her wounds almost killed her. the first responders made a hash of the crime scene. she could not have planted the sock up the ally. the son of the arresting police office was a possible suspect and the arresting police office accused darlie in order to deflect attention fro his son.

  9. We all know how anti death penalty advocates lie to make a point. Isn’t it odd how TLD producers, Kathy Cruz, Barbara Davis, Skip Hollingsworth and others never address publicly the letters Darlie sent to family and friends from the county jail about Glenn Mize and Gary Austin…? None of you ever publicly address Darin’s impeached testimony about his conversation with Jamie Johnson? None of you ever publicly address the 2015 DNA results that were recently suspiciously sealed. Darlie supporters are far less then non supporters. Most non supporters don’t bother with this nonsense because we already know how it’s going to end. Truth is we don’t care if she gets a new trial because the verdict will be the same. Darin is the one who should worry about that. What amazes me is how Darin escaped charges for accessory after the fact. Something tells me he won’t be so lucky if there ends up being a next time. Justice for Devon and Damon Routier is nearing. Gender bias is the only travesty with with capital punishment in Texas. We will patiently be waiting for the inevitable

  10. I have spent countless hours watching television programs about this case. I have also studied other cold cases. Out of the 6 cold cases I have studied, 6 I believe were wrongfully convicted. This guy named Wayne Edwards Edwardwayne I think set her up. 6 was his favorite number, this happened on the 6th month and 6th day in ninety 6. All of these sixes mean something people. Look at Wayneward Edison and at least keep an open mind to this because it could’ve been any one of us that night but poor Darl has been locked up for 30 years because of some crazy intruder.

  11. *Yawn* More lies from the same old liars.
    The defense was granted permission to run the print 10 years ago. No one has prevented the defense from running the print. That’s just another of their old tired lies.Read the court documents. “Permission granted” is a very simple statement to understand so it’s not stupidity that keeps this nonsense going. It’s the iies from the liars for a killer list. Just stop lying people. The appellate courts are going to consider anything you say. The facts are what they look at. The facts say you are liars, Darlie Routier is a liar, and Darlie Routier slaughtered her children. When the final DNA return the same findings as previous DNA tests run by the defense, Inconclusive due the same being too degraded to Test and the rest point straight to Darlie as the killer, then the defense will continue stalling by running the print they have refused to run for ten years. The print with either be determined as useless and cannot be run by AFIS techs or it will come back as a match to Darlie. Don’t believe the lie Darlie was excluded. That’s just another lie. Then it’s all over and an execution date will FINALLY be set. It’s long overdue for this savage animal to pay for murdering her two boys.

    March to hell & back. It didn’t help Karla Faye, who didn’t lie for over two decades, waste tax PAYERS money, and malign good, moral, ethical, law abiding citizens. A few strays who refuse to learn the facts & who lie for a killer nor only do not matter they are a sick, disgusting, joke.

    Kathy, when are you going yo tell the public you have been friends with Darlie for many years? You have zero credibility and no journalistic integreity. You’ve proven that by failing to disclose that very relevant information. Another con among the horde of liars & cons. Typical. Disgusting.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Just another con from these con artists and liars. No journalistic integrity here just lies. Well done Jace Patel

    • Well said Jace, couldn’t have said it better. Just another con. Team Darlie agreed to put that print on hold until all the DNA testing is complete. But these liars don’t tell you that in their zeal to blame good and honest public servants and not Killer Darlie. I would love to be there when they run that print and it comes up a match to Darlie. We all know it’s her print. I would love to see the look on their faces when they realize it’s over.

  12. Why don’t you just write the book with all the exculpatory evidence you said you had? You said that you changed your mind to innocent when you were shown pictures of Darlies bruising, obviously a blatant lie because you had written about the jury being shown extensive bruising but then changed that story to an even more absurd lie to say the jury didn’t see them and that they were mixed in with hundreds of other evidence photos. You also claimed that it was Chris Brown that changed your mind then changed that to someone from the DA’s office. Mercedes Adams claims that you have lied about what she had said to Darlie, yet you have never said that anything in your book was not the absolute truth, were you lying then? Or are you lying now? You are an absolute joke to Darlies defence, you have no credibility. Label us haters all that you like, but Darlies sentence was just, as you once believed.

  13. Darlie is guilty and will soon meet her makervand be fully judged for butchering two innocent boys as they slept The boys blood castoff the weapon onto her shirt PROVES she is the killer

  14. Whether you believe in Darlie Lynn’s innocence or guilt, please take the time to think about your own freedom. Let’s face it, there’s a ton of violence in our country with absolutely no reason for it. What if something happened to you or your loved one and you wholeheartedly believed in them. You’re fooling yourself if you think our court systems are made for truth and justice.

  15. You all heard about the theory of Wayne Edwardson? It’s plausible that he could have set Darla up. How could she have stabbed them children? I’ve seen enough television programs to know she didn’t do it. I know it. Look up John Wayne Edwards. It’s interesting stuff

  16. I have not seen one single fact or piece of evidence that points to anyone other than Darlie. All of it points to her, the killer, the one who lied repeatedly, the adult who survived while her children were butchered.

  17. Has the family reached out to The Innocence Project? If the probability of innocence is as glaring as the supporters claim it seems a Pro Bono firm would’ve picked it up by now due to the high profile of the case. Anyone with half of a functioning brain cell knows the Justice system is flawed and often corrupt but how often do you hear of a crime like this? A person breaking in to a home with valuables in plain sight – not to rob or rape but to kill kids. Hit men use a gun they don’t do the blood bath thing. So many things point to her guilt. Of course the only ones who know are the ones who were there. I don’t believe she’s innocent but I could be wrong.

    • The Innocence Project only takes cases that do not have an attorney, since Darlie has an appellant attorney, she DOES NOT QUALIFY! Why do you people keep on perpetuating these rumors and innuendo?

    • Natasha M. yes they have, twice now, but the IP has advised them they only take cases where the individual is innocent and they believe Darlie is guilty. Kathy Cruz, the author of this article, can confirm that.

  18. I hope and pray that the print will be run and that the owner of it will be identified. Let’s put this to bed, once and for all. I don’t believe Darlie Routier is innocent. I’ve looked for years and haven’t found anything to convince me other but that doesn’t mean I am opposed to running the print. In fact, on the contrary, as I said I hope and pray that it will be run and the sooner the better.

  19. Don’t worry Devon and Damon. We got your backs your mother stabbed you in. We’ll be there with silly string and fireworks btw Kathy I can’t stand to listen to you talk. Why do you put the emphasis on the “h” in when and h-wat or h-winey. All of you are liars. Darlie is a killa

  20. blah blah blah blah, Run the print, it’s not going to do anything for Darlie except confirm it’s her print. Why do you think her defense won’t run it? They are trying to extend her life. They can walk around the world with their signs, not going to anything for Darlie. Darlie is guilty and she will meet her punishment.

  21. When it comes to ending another person’s life in the name of justice, we must be 100% certain that this person is indeed responsible for the crime. There should be no stone left uncovered, and 85j is exactly that, a stone that’s never been uncovered. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time an innocent person was sent to death row in the lone star state (honestly Texas, you hold the record for that. It’s downright embarrassing. You really want to risk getting another one wrong?).

    Whether you’re a “supporter” or a “non supporter,” we all have this in common: we are human beings. We are Americans. We have rights. If there was evidence that could potentially exonerate her, then how can any so called reasonable person be content with that evidence being totally ignored? If it’s a waste of time, so be it. You get to say, “I told you so,” and let’s be honest, you’d eat that up. But if the government’s downright refusal to do this one relatively simple thing doesn’t bother you deep down inside, it should. They have the ability to upload this print into the national database. There is literally nothing preventing them from doing that. Don’t you want to live in an America where you can be sure that those in authority will do whatever necessary, within their abilities, to eliminate the possibility of killing an individual who may be innocent? Don’t they have that responsibility? 85j will match someone in the system, or it won’t. No harm done either way, so why the power games?

    #runthefreakinprintalready

    • 1) We’re most certainly not all Americans
      2) No one is refusing to run the print. Darlie thinks the print will set her free, all she has to do is waive the rest of the useless DNA testing.

  22. To Jade: I didn’t even know it was possible for one to “shut their reply off,” I have no idea how to do that and frankly I wouldn’t bother.

    The subject of the letters was actually addressed in Don Davis’s book “Hush Little Babies,” originally published in November of 1997.

    You wanted an explanation for why she wrote the letters and said the things she said, and I gave you one, based on the facts that I know and my own education. Obviously you are free to come to whatever conclusion you like. My standpoint is that repeating false information given by someone else, that one believes is the truth, does not and never will fall into the category of “lying.” You can agree or disagree, but I stand firm in that belief. Good day to you, ma’am.

  23. Why is Kathy Cruz permitted to write lies and half-truths like the ones she constantly tells about this case? Where is the journalistic integrity? Why have you turned your magazine into a propaganda machine for a murderer of children? Darlie is GUILTY. ALL forensic and DNA tests have proved it. There was NO male DNA in 85-J. It is Darlie’s print, most likely made while she chased Damon down to stab him again. She butchered those boys and you allow Kathy Cruz to lie and lie and lie on your pages, without any rebuttal at all. It is disgusting.

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