The Darlie Routier Case

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    This site seeks to provide information about the case of Darlie Routier. Darlie is on death row in Texas for a crime she has steadfastly maintained she did not commit.

    A growing body of evidence supports her claims of innocence.

    Please take time to learn about Darlie’s case. Join us in speaking out.

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The Towels

Towels in the hallway

Towels in the hallway

The presence of towels at the crime scene supported Darin and Darlie’s claims regarding activity in the kitchen. At the bond hearing Darin testified that upon hearing glass break and Darlie screaming, he ran down the stairs and spotted Devon laying on the floor. He stated Darlie “grabbed the phone and then she was by the sink”. Prosecutor Greg Davis asked Darin what he did next and he responded that he went over to Devon.

Davis asked, “When you came into this Roman room and you went to Devon, did your wife follow you over to Devon?” The Roman room is what the family called the living room where Darlie and the boys were sleeping the night of the murders.

Darin responded to Davis by saying, “Not at that point.” Davis started to ask something when Darin added, “She went straight to the phone — she went straight to the sink to get towels.” The phone was cordless. Darin and Greg Davis discussed the matter further:

Davis: All right. Where was your wife during the time that you were with Devon?
Darin: She was in the kitchen getting kitchen towels out of the thing. I could hear the water running, and then she took them over — and brought towels over to Damon.
Davis: So, you actually — is it your testimony today, that you actually saw her go to the kitchen sink?
Darin: Yeah.

Davis challenged Darin regarding the information, claiming he had not disclosed the above details to the police. Darin stated he had told the police Darlie went to the sink two or three times. He described spending approximately three or four minutes trying to give Devon CPR. In trial testimony he described Darlie attempting to hold Devon’s wounds together while he performed CPR. He then told Davis that Darlie put a towel on Damon’s back (something the police and paramedic would later say was not observed on Damon):

Davis: Well, at what point did she start to do something different?
Darin: Well, I don’t really know. I mean everything I was seeing was when I was coming up, after I was giving, you know, trying to give CPR to Devon.
Davis: Well, you just told me that in the beginning that she was walking between the end of the kitchen bar and the kitchen sink, and I’m trying to understand at what point did that activity end?
Darin: Probably about the time that she came over to Damon and gave him — you know, put a towel on him, she was pretty much at his feet, of me looking up and seeing him — you know, seeing her, seeing Damon laying on the floor, and me trying to work on Devon, you can’t really put it all in perspective, it’s just a lot of different things happening all at the same time.
Davis: Well, is it your testimony that she went over to Damon, and actually put a towel on his back?
Darin: She laid a towel on his back.
Davis: Did she leave that towel on his back?
Darin: I would assume so, yes, sir.

Darlie’s testimony at trial matched Darin’s claims about her going to the kitchen and getting towels. She also testified that she wet the towels.

Lead investigator James Patterson testified to seeing towels in the hallway as well.

Mulder: Mr. Patterson, when you went through the residence, with the other detectives on the walk through on June 6th, did you see some towels with blood on them in the den area?
Patterson:  The towels I remember were in the hall.
Mulder: Towels in the hall. All right. How many towels did you see in the hall?
Patterson: I don’t — I didn’t count them.
Mulder: Were they bloody?
Patterson: There were some washcloths that had some blood on them, or had something that appeared to be like blood.
Mulder: Were they wet when you saw them?
Patterson: I don’t recall if they were or not.
Mulder: Were you told that they had been wet?
Patterson: No, sir.
Mulder: Did you inquire as to whether or not they were wet?
Patterson: No, sir.
Mulder: It didn’t make any difference?
Patterson: It made a difference.
Mulder: She told you she put wet towels on the boys, didn’t she?
Patterson: In her written statement.
Mulder: Did she ever tell you that she put wet towels on the boys?
Patterson: Well, in her written statement she did.
Mulder: All right.

The towels in the hallway are visible on the police crime scene video

The towels in the hallway are visible on the police crime scene video

Officer David Mayne took the stand to testify about his involvement in the investigation. He took photographs of the crime scene and helped to collect evidence. He explained on the stand that he had collected two bloody towels from the hallway in the Routier home. Instead of placing each bloody towel into a separate bag, Mayne combined them into one. Defense attorney Richard Mosty asked, “And you know better than to put two bloody items into the same bag?”

Mayne responded, “Well, they were collected together.”

“But you know better than to do that, don’t you?” Mosty repeated.

Mayne gave no response to his question and the trial transcript reflects this.

The defense also brought up a bloody towel that was located near Devon. The following occurred during Mayne’s testimony regarding that towel and the officer’s decision-making about what evidence was important. Mayne acknowledged that he had collected records pertaining to a headstone the family had purchased for a cat, but not the bloody towel near Devon. Referring to the records of the headstone Mosty asked:

Mosty: Okay. And so you collected it?
Mayne: Yes, sir.
Mosty: Now, this is at — is this the same time that you are making the decision that the bloody towel by Devon is not important?
Mayne: No, this was later on in the day, sir.
Mosty: This is after you have already decided the towel is not important, you decide that the cat burial is important?
Mayne: Yes, sir.
Mosty: Okay.

Darin’s testimony confirmed that Darlie had been getting towels, but also that she brought them to him as he was trying to help his son. Defense attorney Doug Mulder broached the topic with Darin during trial:

Mulder: Where was Darlie?
Darin: Darlie was running back and forth, from the kitchen, over to Damon, and then she came over to Devon. And she was going “Oh, my God, he is dead.”
Mulder: What was she doing in the kitchen?
Darin: Getting towels.
Mulder: Wet towels?
Darin: Um-hum. (Witness nodding head affirmatively.)
Mulder: Brought them to you?
Darin: Yes, sir.
Mulder: Where — how many times did you blow into Devon’s mouth?
Darin: I blew into his mouth about — at least two or three times.
Mulder: Where was she when you were blowing into his mouth?
Darin: Right over the top of him.
Mulder: What was she doing?
Darin: She was trying to stop the bleeding. She was trying to hold his chest together.

Layout of the first floor of the Routier house

Layout of the first floor of the Routier house (hallway containing towels is between the “living room” and the “entry”)

The above testimony was important for more than one reason, however. It confirmed that Darlie was attempting to assist in helping her children, as she and Darin both claimed; however, it also explained how blood from Devon and Darlie got on the sink handle. Darlie had readily admitted that she had wet towels. She had not received first aid training and was frantic. The police admitted, under oath, that they never asked Darlie about her going to the sink. Instead, they felt it was incumbent on her to disclose every detail pertaining to her actions that night.

But why would she have done that when the towels were in various places for anyone to see? Why point out to the police that she went to the sink when she thought the police were looking outside of the home for an intruder? Darlie had, after all, put in her statement that she had placed a towel on Damon’s back. Darin claimed he had told the police more than once – the same police who consistently testified they did not take notes, did not always properly sign and date reports, did not bring their notes to trial the majority of the time (when they did take notes), and at trial could not always locate all of their reports and notes.

Additional Photographs

Click on the thumbnails below to view the larger picture.

Defense exhibit 29 depicted towels in the hallway – one of which was obviously bloody.

Defense Exhibit 29

Defense Exhibit 29

At least two additional photographs entered as exhibits by the defense depict a bloody towel located next to Devon. This image supports claims by Darlie and Darin that she went back and forth from the living room to the kitchen to get towels to assist in rendering aid to her children.

Defense Exhibit 30

Defense Exhibit 30

Defense Exhibit 31

Defense Exhibit 31

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