Birthday: January 4, 1970
Age: 51 Years, 51 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Darlie Lynn Peck Routier
Born in: Altoona, Pennsylvania, United States
Notorious As: Murderer
Spouse/Ex-: Darin Routier (m. 1988–2011)
father: Larry Peck
mother: Darlie Kee
siblings: Danelle Fugate
children: Damon Routier, Devon Routier, Drake Routier
Darlie Lynn Peck Routier is an American death row inmate convicted of killing her five-year-old son. However, she did not face any charges for the murder of her other son, despite both boys being stabbed with the same knife. Born in Pennsylvania, Routier had spent her teenage years in Lubbock, Texas where she met her future husband Darin Routier when she was 15 years old. They married four years later and in 1989, their oldest son Devon was born. They would have two more, Damon and Drake. A horrific incident took place on the night of June 6, 1996, and when the police arrived at the scene, they found one boy dead, another dying, and Routier herself with serious but superficial injuries. After recovery, she was charged with murder. The subsequent trial went on for less than a year before the judge pronounced her sentence. In 2014, both the prosecution and her defence team were granted permission for further DNA tests.
Childhood, Early Life, & Marriage
Darlie Lynn Peck Routier was born on January 4, 1970, in Altoona, Pennsylvania to parents Larry Peck and Darlie Kee. She has a sister named Danelle Fugate. When Routier was a teenager, she relocated to Lubbock with her mother and stepfather Robbie Kee. Her mother found work at a Western Sizzlin restaurant where Darin worked as a cook. He was 17 and Routier was 15 when they met. They married in August 1988.
She studied at Monterey High School in Lubbock, graduating in 1988. Initially, Darin was quite successful with his small company that tested electronic components. They purchased a new house in Rowlett, an affluent suburb of Dallas, Texas, and spent thousands of dollars in renovating. He bought a 1982 Jaguar and a thirty-foot cabin cruiser while she underwent a breast augmentation surgery in 1992 and bought a large amount of flashy jewellery.
Devon Rush Routier was born less than a year after their marriage, on June 14, 1989. She gave birth to Damon Christian Routier on February 19, 1991. Their youngest, Drake, the only Routier boy to survive the incident, was born on October 18, 1995.
All accounts agree that the Routiers were living beyond their means. But those who knew them did not realise that at the time. The Routiers were model residents and a picture-perfect family. Darlie baked cookies for the neighbourhood kids who would later testify on her behalf before the court. They even assisted a cancer patient with a mortgage payment.
It all changed when their business started to operate at a loss. They had applied for a loan shortly before the murders but were rejected because of their dire financial situation. They were behind on their own mortgage and owed $10,000 in back taxes and $12,000 on credit cards. There were also marital troubles in the months leading up to the incident. At one point, Routier contemplated suicide and wrote a note to her children in her diary. She asked them to forgive her and not to feel responsible for her death.
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Murders & Arrest
On June 6, 1996, at 2:31 am, the 911 dispatchers at Rowlett got an emergency call from Routier from their home at 5801 Eagle Drive. She reported that an intruder had broken into the house, stabbing her two children and attacking her. It was later revealed that Darin was sleeping upstairs with Drake at the time while Routier was downstairs with Damon and Devon.
The first officer to arrive at the scene was David Waddell who saw Darin running out the front door. Waddell stopped him and asked who he was. After stating his identity, Darin informed him that he was going to the house across the street to get Karen Neal, a nurse. Waddell entered the house to find Routier still talking to the dispatchers; one boy had already died and the other was close to death. When Darin returned, Waddell told him to save the child that was still alive.
Darin performed CPR but it wasn’t enough. Darlie, who had suffered serious injuries herself, including a knife cut on the throat, asked Waddell if any of her jewellery was stolen. When his back-up arrived, he went through the house but did not find any intruder.
She also told Waddell that she had touched the knife that was used to kill her children, implanting her own fingerprints on it. She was treated for her injuries at Baylor University Medical Center in downtown Dallas.
Eight days after the incident, Routier was shown in newscasts across the country at her sons’ graves posthumously celebrating Devon’s birthday, who would have been seven that year. She was shown smiling, laughing, and spraying silly strings on the graves, while singing “Happy Birthday” along with her family. The newscasts had a devastating effect. She was officially charged with capital murder four days later. The video would also play an instrumental role in her conviction.
Her family, who has stood by her throughout all these years, had called attention to the fact that there was a solemn ceremony honouring the children held earlier that the newscasts failed to show.
Trial & Conviction
Portraying Routier as a spoilt, materialistic woman who couldn’t cope with mounting debt and loss of her affluent lifestyle, the prosecution built the case on the premise that she murdered her children because of the family’s financial difficulties. She was tried only for the murder of Damon, as he was under six at the time of his death and that made it a capital murder case.
The prosecution, under the leadership of Toby Shook and Greg Davis, suggested that the crime scene had been staged. They brought in crime scene consultant James Cron to support the claim. The jurors were shown the Silly String video. Routier’s attorney, Douglas Mulder argued that there was no coherent motive for her to murder her children. He pointed out that the prosecution did not have a motive, a confession, or any witnesses. Despite her attorney’s warnings, she took the stand as a witness and “withered under cross-examination by prosecutor Toby Shook."
According to the testimony of San Antonio chief medical examiner Vincent DiMaio, the wound inflicted on Routier’s neck was only two millimetres away from severing her carotid artery. He added that her injuries did not match with the self-inflicted wounds that he had seen before. However, the physicians who treated her at Baylor University Medical Center stated previously to the police officers that the wounds could have been self-inflicted. Either way, the jurors did not get to see any photographs of her injuries.
Tom Bevel informed the court that the cast-off blood on the back of her nightshirt suggested that she had drawn her hand back every time before stabbing the children repeatedly.
The jury found Routier guilty and she was sentenced to death by lethal injection on February 4, 1997. She is held at Mountain View Unit in Texas from the last 20 years. Her sentence is to be carried out at the Huntsville Unit’s execution chamber.
Darin lost Drake’s custody because of his support for Routier. His only living child was put under his parents’ care and he was granted only visitation rights. Darin and Routier finally divorced in September 2011, citing a mutual need to get out of the limbo they had been in since her arrest and conviction. He has since remarried.
Routier and her family hired J. Stephen Cooper as her post-conviction attorney. He and others in the defence team have claimed that a number of errors had been made both during the trial and in the official transcription of it. They also suggested that there were several errors in how the investigation itself had been conducted. When they approached an appeals court with these allegations, they were rejected. Same thing happened during a court ruling on her habeas corpus petition.
In 2008, she received the rights to new DNA tests. On January 19, 2014, both the prosecution and defence teams were permitted to perform further DNA tests on a smudged fingerprint found in the house, a bloody sock found outside, and her nightshirt.