Special 20/20 Documentary airs Tonight at 9/8c on ABC
A mother on death row for the unthinkable. Now the court orders testing on crucial crime scene evidence. See these exclusive interviews and stunning details - 'Darlie Routier' - Tonight at 9/8c on ABC
More Video Clips
05/06/19 - INNOCENCE PROJECT NOW INVOLVED
06/12/18 - The Last Defense: SEASON 1 on ABC
This seven-episode docu-series, 'The Last Defense,' explores and exposes flaws in
the American justice system through emotional, The series will seek to trace the path that led
both Routier and Jones to their places on death row, while taking a deep look into their
personal stories. Both maintain their innocence.
EPISODE 1 - June 12, 2018 -
After surviving the brutal stabbing that leaves her two sons dead in 1996, Dallas housewife Darlie Routier urges police to find the intruder she claims is the killer. To her horror, she becomes the No. 1 suspect. In his first interview in nearly 15 years, Darlie's husband, Darin Routier, gives an emotional telling of the events leading up to her arrest while the prosecutors, Greg Davis and Toby Shook, walk through the crime scene as they prepare their case.
EPISODE 2 - June 19, 2018 -
A spotlight on Darlie Routier's trial and the first-hand account of what happened on the night of crime.
EPISODE 3 - June 26, 2018 -
The prosecution relies on character assignation to make their case.
EPISODE 4 - July 3, 2018 -
Darlie's defense team prepairs for a retrial.
Petition to Dallas DA - Re-open the Routier case
Please sign our petition to compel the dallas DA to re-open the Darlie Routier case.
Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death
COMING SOON FROM TCU PRESS: The brutal murders of young Devon and Damon Routier in the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, put their mother—Darlie Routier—at the heart of one of the most notorious murder cases in modern Texas history—despite her own throat having been slashed to within two millimeters of her carotid artery. The actions of a small-town police department and those within Dallas County's ruthless justice system created a perfect storm that swept up the young mother and landed her on death row. There she has remained, in a nine-feet-by-six-feet cell, despite claims of her innocence by those who know her, findings about the alarming fallibility of bloodstain analysis, and her husband's admission that at the time of the murders he was soliciting help to stage a home burglary to commit insurance fraud. In Dateline Purgatory, award-winning journalist Kathy Cruz enlists current-day legal experts to weigh in on the shocking transgressions that resulted in one of the country's most controversial death penalty convictions.
"Dateline Purgatory will make you feel. Then, it will make you think. And hopefully, after that, you will want to act. I did, because once an execution is carried out, there’s no correcting it.” – Michael Morton, author, “Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace.”
Court orders more DNA testing.
On July 18, 2014, the court ordered more DNA testing by the Southwest
Institute of Forensic Science, Dallas, TX (SWIFS). The order instructs
the Dallas County Clerk to turn over eleven items that were agreed on
between the State and Defense. These items include the Sock left in the
ally, and the unidentified bloody fingerprint lift, State's Exhibits 60
and 85-J. DNA testing the bloody fingerprint is significant because
new technology can separate DNA from the fingerprint oil. Since the bloody
print does not match any known person at the scene, new DNA from that
print, or any other sample will bolster the claim that the print was
left by an intruder.
Routier files for more DNA testing allowed under new rules.
Routier files a new motion for complete DNA testing. Previous limited
testing was approved by the Court of Criminal Appeals. However new
rules allow a broader scope of testing, even if the technology was
available at the time of trial. The new items being requested are all
untested blood stains, hairs, samples, and the unidentified bloody
fingure print. DNA testing the bloody fingure print is significant
because new technology can separate DNA from the fingerprint oil. Since
the print does not match any known person at the scene, new DNA from the
print, or any other sample will bolster the claim that the print was
left by an intruder.
UPDATE: more testing to be done but funds lacking
State DNA testing was completed mid December, however they have yet to release their report. This testing was paid for by
the State but it was very limited. The state has not agreed to pay for more important testing, like the limb hair found on
the sock, or the oil mixed with the bloody finger print which Dr. Johnson testified new technology could reveal proof that
it was left by a male intruder. Darlie's law firm is working pro-bono, however they need donations for more funds to pay for
this more substantive testing and the experts that the State has not agreed to pay for. If this is to be done, more funds
must be raised by the defense. Most of our funds had been spent on prior experts and investigators who got us this far.
Click here to help.
13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty
This important event is scheduled for November 3, 2012 in Autin Texas. Hope to see ya there.
This is a great website that has a lot of additional information.
Court Orders DNA testing
Testing of existing extracts could completely consume that evidence. So
parties agreed and the court ordered that the testing would proceed on
blood samples and cuttings taken from the items from which those
extracts were derived. The State is required to provide an inventory of
the items to be tested. The State is also required to deliver the items
to the Department of Public Safety Laboratory in Austin by May 23, 2012
Assistant DA Greg Davis indicted in Collin County
After Greg Davis prosecuted Darlie Routier and sent her to death row, his
career made many gains which included many hours on National TV. He
was also quoted for saying, "If Darlie is really innocent, that only
proves that I am a great lawyer". During that interview, he had a
picture of a needle on display in his office.
However, during the appeal in the years to follow, much of the States
evidence was debunked and many of their witnesses changed their
testimony. For example, the nurses admitted being coached by prosecutors
their original opinions, and the State conveniently loses key evidence
associated with the rape exam. The State spent lots of money blocking
Routier from testing other evidence. The bloody
fingerprint, which Davis calls a smudge, has 8 identifiable
points and yet it has never been run through AFIS. Now it comes out that
he is indicted for falsifying government records. Gee, could
this kind of activity be the reason the evidence and testimoney in the
case is tainted and controversial? Could it be true that Davis cheated to
get a conviction? Is this why they fight any honest review of the
evidence that would cost the State nothing?
Affidavit of DNA expert Dr. Elizabeth Johnson (pdf)
Dr. Elizabeth Johnson is a highly respected, well published DNA scientist and has been
appointed by many Texas Courts for her expertise. She has uncovered the causes of
errors in DNA labs operated by DPS including those in Austin and Houston. She has
submitted prior affidavits in this case explaining the original DNA testing, and
described how new technology and tests could resolve this case. Currently much of the
existing evidence is at Orchid Cellmark, a privately operated Dallas lab. It is there
because the Dallas DA used that facility for their original testing prior to trial.
In late 2008, the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered new DNA testing. Cellmark allows
experts of parties to observe their processes. This maintains the integrity of their
testing and avoids further contraversy. Routier's expert Dr. Johnson would observe the
testing. Despite that Dallas has used this lab before in this case, the Dallas DA now
objects. They want to move everything to the Austin DPS lab where no one is permitted
to observe. The Austin DPS logs show recent cases of contamination and flawed
procedures at this lab. Not all the issues at this lab have been remedied. It is
questionable why the Dallas DA now wants to use a different lab having inferior
qualifications and restricts observation by party experts.
New Video by some of Darlie's Supporter's. (YouTube)
Special thanks to Terri Been of OneTrueMedia.com for producing this video
in support of Darlie and posting it on YouTube and FaceBook. We also thank
Heidi Moan for making this happen, and the "Kids Against the Death
Penalty" (KADP) for their participation. The title of this video is "Save
Darlie Routier" and it was posted on YouTube 12/24/2009.
Order Granting in Part Motion for Discovery. (pdf)
Judge Royal Furgeson grants in part Routier's motion for discovery. With
the exception of the night shirt and laboratory documents, all other
discovery requested by Routier has been granted. After reviewing the
record and recent filings from both sides, the court concluded:
"While petitioner has not identified with specificity
the test results in question might fully exonerate her, the theory
underlying the prosecution's case against petitioner is as convoluted and
counter-intuitive as that of any death penalty case to come before this
Court. Given the improvements in forensic testing techniques that have
occurred over the last decade, and the potential for discovery of evidence
showing the presence of petitioner's alleged assailant within the Routier
home at the time of the murders, this Court believes petitioner has
demonstrated "good cause" for the limited discovery (re-testing of
physical evidence) authorized by this Order."
Included in the granted portion of discovery, Routier will finally (after
12 years) be permitted to run four (4) unidentified fingerprints through
the FBI data base, two of which were left in blood and do not match anyone
who was known to be at the scene. DNA testing will also be conducted on
all human biological material and hairs found on the tube sock in the ally
several houses away shortly after officers arrived at the crime scene.
Petitioner's First Motion for Discovery.
Darlie Routier files her "First Motion for Discovery" in her Federal
Habeas proceeding. She is seeking access to specific items of evidence
which could prove that the murders were committed by an intruder.
Access to this evidence was previously denied at the State level under
Texas rules, including the comparison of a bloody fingerprint with
those in the FBI database. Different rules apply in this Federal
proceeding. The grounds justifying Routier's Discovery request are: 1)
ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to test and rebut important
assumptions upon which the state's case turned 2) Denial of due process
associated with critical misleading expert testimony concerning physical
evidence which was brought into question by the same expert after trial, 3)
Violation of the Eight Amendment associated with executing an innocent
The US District Court issued an Order
on July 21 lifting the stay and abeyance. (pdf)
This order is in response to Routiers request to lift the stay and
abeyance, and consider granting additional DNA testing that was denied by
the state court. The US District Court requires Routier to file her
request within 30 days which indentifies all the discovery she wants the
court to consider.
The Defense files their status
report in response to the US District Court's Order dated May 21, 2008. (pdf)
The defense also asks the US District Court to lift the abeyance, and
consider granting the DNA testing that was denied by the state so
that all the testing could be done concurrently without delay, and
all the new evidence can be considered at the same time.
The State's Court Order on 6/18 refers to a bloody palm print to which
technology existed in 1996 that could determine if there is a male
blood donor in a mixed blood sample. This item was actually a finger
print. The State Court should not have denied testing of this item
because the technology did not exist in 1996 for the small amount of the
attackers oil that would be found in a finger print made in the victims
blood. See Affidavit of Dr.
Johnson (pdf) paragraphs 10b, 10c, 10e and 15. The identity of
the person leaving this
fingerprint is still not accounted for.
The Court of Criminal Appeals
issues ruling allowing limited DNA lesting. (html)
Items to be
subjected to DNA testing are:
a blood stain on the tube sock, previously tested but yielding no results;
the pubic hair, previously tested without results;
previously tested blood stains from the night shirt;
the facial hair;
flakes from the door from the utility room to the garage, previously tested without results.
See the four Media Articles published between 6/18 and 6/20 2008.
US Court Order for Status Report
US District Judge Royle Furgeson issues an order requiring a status
report of State actions in followup to the Courts order of August
2, 2006 to stay federal proceedings. Judge Furgeson states that actions
in his court will not be delayed to the extent allowed in State court.
Appellant's Brief: Appeal From the
Denial of Chapter 64 Motion for Post Conviction DNA Testing (pdf)
This Brief has some extreemly compelling information that sums up Mrs.
Routiers case and calls for newly available DNA testing of several items.
One of the most important is that fingerprint left in the victims blood.
Being in blood, it could only be left by a person who was at the scene
at the time of the crime. Fingerprint analysis ruled out all know
individuals at the scene. New DNA testing now available could detect the
DNA material from the hosts oil even though it is mixed with the blood of
the victim. This testing would identify another individual at the scene.
If the state prosecuter is interested in the truth, why would they object
to such testing?
Dallas Morning News 4/16/2007
Death No More: Life without parole should be new standard
4/6/07 - Court TV follow up. See
other key points that were not covered by the Court TV investigators.
2/16/07 - Innocence Project to review Dallas County convictions.
See News Article
8/2/06 - A Court Order was signed
today by US District Judge Royal Furgeson which VACATED the courts March 2, 2006 denial of Routiers
Motion for Reconsideration. In this order, the court GRANTED Routiers Motion for Reconsideration (pdf)
(Filed April 2006) and also GRANTED
Routiers Motion for Stay filed (Feb 2006). No furthar action by the US
Court will be taken until the investigation into new evidence is completed
at the state level. Routier can not be executed while a Federal Habeas
Corpus is pending in US Court.
4/30/06 - A motion to stay the Federal Habeas proceedings pending
DNA completion of the State DNA testing Proceedings was denied. Darlie's
council filed a
Motion for Reconsideration (pdf)
which addresses all of the
Federal courts concerns. This motion provides complete information about
what is expected to be discovered with the DNA tests and how it would
prove her innocence. The state has vigorously fought to prevent these
tests. In this motion, council explains in detail how each test result,
independant of the other, would undermine the conviction, and how most of
the test results would be conclusive of her innocence.
The hearing on January 26,2006 for Darlie Routier took place entirely
behind locked chambers. A new hearing with results from that
conference will be posted when available.
Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus (
LegalFedWrit.pdf ) was filed
November 29, 2005 in the US District court in San Antonio TX.
Some people have expressed confusion on what the media reported about the
press conference on August 17th, 2004. Below is an accurate statement of
the current legal matters, and press release material.
This press conference was sponsored by the Texas Innocence
Network and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
click here for diagram of crime
Summary of the Underlying Trial Evidence
In the trial of Darlie Routier, the prosecution sought to convict
a person who steadfastly maintained her innocence. The prosecution had
no eye witnesses - the only potential eyewitness, five-year-old Damon
Routier, died shortly after the paramedics arrived on the scene - and no
confession. The evidence presented by the prosecution included Ms.
Routier's statements and conduct in the hours and days after the crime,
forensic evidence from the crime scene, and testimony from investigators
who believed that the crime scene had been staged, despite Ms. Routier's
telling them that an intruder had attacked her and her sons and left the
house through the garage. The prosecution also offered evidence
purporting to show that Ms. Routier was a materialistic, self-centered
woman, whose life was unraveling in the wake of the birth of her third son
and supposed financial difficulties that were facing the family.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution offered evidence attempting
to support its theory of a staged crime scene. There was no blood in the
garage through which Ms. Routier told the police the intruder fled. In
addition, dust on the window ledge where Ms. Routier believed the intruder
left the garage, and the mulch just outside that same window, were
undisturbed. A knife in the Routier kitchen contained fibers that were
microscopically consistent with material in the screen in a garage window
that had been cut, allegedly to stage entry by an intruder. In addition,
investigators testified that certain items in the Routier house,
including a broken wine glass and a turned-over vacuum cleaner, had been
staged to suggest a struggle. A prosecution expert testified that the
blood on the back of Ms. Routier's shirt was consistent with what would
be expected if she had stabbed Devon.
The Need for the Defense to Have Access to Previously
The case against Darlie Routier turned on circumstantial evidence
and the testimony of numerous prosecution experts. Since the trial,
evidence has surfaced that suggests that the prosecution's case was wrong
in focusing on Ms. Routier. Unidentified, bloody fingerprints not
belonging to Ms. Routier have been found. These fingerprints
contradict the prosecution's central theory that Ms. Routier "staged" the
crime scene. Significant items of evidence remain untested for DNA,
including hairs found on a bloody tube sock and at least one pubic hair
found in the room where the murders and the assault on Ms. Routier
occurred. Ms. Routier's trial counsel - who should not have represented
Ms. Routier because of a conflict of interest that arose from his
agreement not to pursue any defense that would implicate Darin Routier
(Darlie's husband) - stopped key defense experts from completing their
forensic examination. Because the evidence against Ms. Routier is so
flawed, the court should have ordered the prosecutor to cooperate with
defense investigators and to allow access to new and untested crime scene
The key questions that need to be addressed are:
Who left the bloody fingerprint on the living room table?
Who left two fingerprints - including a bloody print - on the door to the garage?
Whose blood is on the blue jeans of Darlie Routier's husband?
Who left limb hairs on a bloody tube sock found outside the Routier's home?
Who left a pubic hair in the Routiers' living room?
Whose blood was on Darlie Routier's night shirt, and how did it get there?
Did the debris on the kitchen knife-which, according to the prosecution's own expert, can be subjected to more refined testing-come from a screen door or police investigation?
These questions were never investigated or addressed by the
prosecution or by Ms. Routier's conflicted trial counsel. The questions
cannot be investigated any further by her present counsel because of the
prosecution's refusal to provide access to evidence in their custody.
Justice requires that the investigation into these crimes be completed
now. The trial court should have ordered the prosecution, long before
now, to provide defense investigators and experts access to crime scene
evidence and should have ordered DNA testing of biological evidence.
The History of Ms. Routier's Efforts to Gain Access to
the Physical Evidence
Until August 4, 2004, Ms. Routier had a habeas corpus petition
pending before the trial court attacking the fairness of her trial and
arguing again that she is innocent and has been wrongfully convicted.
Under the Texas habeas corpus statute, Ms. Routier is entitled to fully
develop the factual claims that support her petition for habeas corpus,
including her claim of innocence. Under a related statute, Ms. Routier is
entitled to DNA testing of biological evidence that is likely to prove
her innocence. In a separate motion, she asked for DNA testing.
During the pendency of her state habeas corpus proceeding, Ms.
Routier repeatedly asked Judge Robert Francis of the Criminal District
Court for the right to access and test the evidence she believes will
prove her innocence. Ms. Routier also repeatedly asked for an
evidentiary hearing in order to air the disputed issues of fact that
surround her conviction. In addition to her Petition for Habeas Corpus,
Ms. Routier filed the following motions before Judge Francis seeking
access to the crime scene evidence:
1. Expedited Motion for Access to State's Physical Evidence: Filed May 29, 2002.
2. Renewed Request for Access to State's Evidence: Filed July 2, 2002.
3. Post-Application Motion for Access to State's Evidence: Filed July 17, 2002.
4. Second Renewed Request for Access to State's Evidence: Filed July 29, 2003.
5. Motion for Forensic DNA Testing: Filed November 4, 2003.
6. Applicant Darlie Lynn Routier's Motion For Reconsideration: Filed November 3, 2003.
7. Renewed Motion for Testing of Physical and Biological Evidence and Request for an Evidentiary Hearing:
Filed January 23, 2004.
In response to Ms. Routier's original motion, Judge Francis allowed
Ms. Routier only to view the evidence already in the court's possession;
he did not order the State to turn over any additional evidence, nor did
he allow the evidence to be tested. Judge Francis did not deny Ms.
Routier's requests for access to other evidence; he simply ignored them.
On August 4, 2004, Judge Francis issued a 193-page ruling denying
Ms. Routier's habeas corpus petition and finding she received a fair
trial. This ruling included findings on numerous outstanding and sharply
disputed factual issues. The court's judgment on these issues : for
example, that Ms. Routier failed to prove that the bloody fingerprints in
the living room belonged to an intruder - were made without a single
evidentiary hearing, without giving Ms. Routier access to the critical
items of evidence in her case, and without DNA testing of outstanding
biological evidence, as is Ms. Routier's right under Texas law.
Until such access and hearing are granted, Ms. Routier will be
unable to develop the evidence necessary to prove she is innocent of this
Access to Various Items of Evidence Is Necessary to
Prevent the Execution of an Innocent Person
Judge Francis' ruling tries, unsatisfactorily, to explain why no
further testing of some of the evidence is necessary. His ruling ignores
other items of evidence altogether. Judge Francis is wrong in denying
testing. He turns a blind eye to the search for the truth in a death
penalty case where serious questions about a wrongful conviction have
been raised. His ruling in no way answers these questions.
The following evidence still needs further scientific and
forensic analysis or a fair court hearing, or both:
& An unidentified bloody fingerprint
taken from a table in the room where the murders and assault occurred.
A prosecution expert filed a report in the habeas proceeding
ruling out every known adult as leaving this fingerprint except for Ms.
Routier. There was some question whether the print could have been left
by one of the children.
In a written reply to this report, Ms. Routier filed the
report of an independent expert excluding Ms. Routier as the source of
Judge Francis made no mention of this independent expert's
report in ruling that the fingerprint was left by Ms. Routier or one of
her children. Judge Francis had no basis for resolving this issue as he
did in light of the conflicting expert opinions.
A factual dispute remains as to whether this unidentified
bloody fingerprint belonged to one of the Routier children or to the
assailant, and if to the assailant, whether it was Ms. Routier. Without
permitting additional analysis as requested by Ms. Routier, and without
hearing from all experts through testimony in court, Judge Francis could
not fairly decide that this fingerprint belonged to Ms. Routier or one of
& A bloody fingerprint taken from the
utility room door heading from the kitchen toward the garage.
This fingerprint appears to have been left by the assailant as he
fled the house through the garage.
Ms. Routier's expert filed a report in the habeas corpus
proceeding determining that this fingerprint had insufficient detail to
identify the person who left it but sufficient detail to exclude various
people as its source.
This expert excluded Ms. Routier as the source of this
At trial, the prosecution took the position that the crime
scene was carefully preserved and that no law enforcement or medical
emergency personnel left any bloody fingerprints.
Without acknowledging the prosecution's position at trial
that this bloody print could not have been left by any personnel
attending to the crime scene, Judge Francis faulted Ms. Routier in his
habeas corpus decision for not having ruled out law enforcement personnel
as the source of the fingerprint - and mistakenly assumed that one of them
was the source.
In these circumstances, Judge Francis could not fairly
determine that this fingerprint had no relevance to proving Ms. Routier
innocent. Ms. Routier was ruled out as the source. No one who came to the
crime scene after the crime occurred - according to the prosecution -
could have left the print. It was very likely left by the assailant.
& A latent fingerprint taken from the
utility room door heading from the kitchen toward the garage.
This fingerprint may also have been left by the assailant as he
fled the house through the garage.
An independent expert concluded that this print was suitable
for comparison. This expert also matched the print to Darin Routier's
second finger joint on the middle finger of his left hand.
Ms. Routier's expert also concluded that this print was
suitable for comparison. Ms. Routier's expert, however, excluded both Ms.
Routier and her husband Darin as the source of this print.
Ms. Routier submitted the report of both experts to Judge
Francis. Thereafter, the independent expert revised his analysis, and
agreed that Darin Routier could be excluded as the source of this print.
Without allowing further testing of the fingerprint, Judge
Francis determined that the fingerprint might not be connected to the
crime. Judge Francis found that, because the print was not bloody, it may
have been deposited by an individual known to be in the Routier's house
prior to the crime.
A factual dispute remains as to whether this print belongs to
an unknown third party. Without further analysis of this print, Judge
Francis cannot fairly have decided that the print had no connection to
& The blood on the blue jeans of Darin
Darin Routier told the police that he got his son Devon's blood
on his jeans when he attempted to resuscitate Devon.
In her habeas corpus petition, Ms. Routier set out a variety
of facts suggesting that Darin Routier was responsible for the murders
and the assault, by acting alone or by hiring another person to commit
Ms. Routier asked that the blood on Mr. Routier's jeans be
tested to determine whether the blood was solely from Devon or also from
her other son, Damon, or from her. Judge Francis ignored this request.
Without acknowledging that Ms. Routier had asked for access
to the jeans, Judge Francis' habeas corpus ruling faulted Ms. Routier for
failing to show that the blood on Mr. Routier's jeans came from a source
in addition to or other than Devon.
In these circumstances, Judge Francis could not fairly
determine that the blood on Darin Routier's jeans had no relevance to
proving Ms. Routier's innocence.
& Pubic hairs in the living room and
limb hairs on a bloody tube sock.
At least one pubic hair was recovered from or near the couch
where Ms. Routier slept the night of the murders and assault. Before
trial, a prosecution expert conducted DNA testing of this hair but could
not determine the DNA makeup of the hair.
A bloody tube sock was found in the alley behind the
Routiers' home. The prosecution conducted no DNA analysis of a human limb
hair found on the sock.
In connection with the pending habeas corpus proceeding, Ms.
Routier asked for access to these hairs to conduct DNA analysis. Ms.
Routier's expert explained that the evolution of DNA testing since the
time of trial could well allow the DNA to be identified from the pubic
hair, as well as from the limb hair.
If these hairs are analyzed and the DNA does not match anyone
in the Routier household, this would provide substantial evidence that an
intruder committed the crime and confirm what until now has been an
uncorroborated suspicion by Ms. Routier that this person tried to assault
her sexually before he stabbed her.
Judge Francis ignored Ms. Routier's request for DNA testing
and said nothing about this evidence in the ruling on Ms. Routier's
habeas corpus petition.
& The blood on Ms. Routier's night
The prosecution's expert testified at trial that several of the
stains on Ms. Routier's night shirt contained both her blood and the blood
of Damon or Devon.
Judge Francis found in the habeas corpus ruling, on the basis
of this expert's trial testimony, that Damon's and Devon's blood was "cast
off" from the knife as Ms. Routier stabbed her children, and that her own
blood came from what Judge Francis found was her self-inflicted wounds.
Ms. Routier earlier filed a report in the habeas corpus
proceeding from defense experts challenging the very assumptions that
Judge Francis later relied on. These experts concluded that the critical
areas of blood "spatter" (that is, blood that spews out from a directly
inflicted wound or drops from a bloody weapon) on the night shirt had
never been tested to determine whose blood this was and thus, could have
been confused as blood "cast off" from a knife when in fact it was Ms.
Routier's own blood. The defense experts also disputed whether there was
"cast off" blood in the part of the night shirt that it would have been on
had Ms. Routier stabbed her children. Ms. Routier asked for access to the
night shirt to conduct additional testing, but Judge Francis ignored her
Judge Francis had no basis for resolving this factual dispute
as he did without further testing and without hearing testimony from the
prosecution and defense experts.
& Fibers on the kitchen knife.
At trial, a prosecution expert testified that microscopic debris
found on a knife in the Routiers' kitchen was consistent with the
screening material in a garage window. The prosecutor used this evidence
to argue that Ms. Routier cut the screen to make it appear that an
intruder had entered through that window.
In her habeas corpus petition, Ms. Routier alleged that prior
to the prosecution expert's testing of the debris on the kitchen knife,
that knife had been dusted for fingerprints. She then presented the
opinion of an expert that fingerprint powder residue may have been
mistaken for the residue of screening material. Ms. Routier asked that
she be given access to the knife debris to conduct further testing to
determine if the debris on the knife was in fact the residue of
Along with her habeas corpus petition, Ms. Routier filed an
affidavit from the prosecution's own forensic scientist, Charlie Linch,
in which Linch confirmed that the debris from the knife could be
subjected to more refined testing than the microscopic analysis performed
prior to Ms. Routier's trial. Ms. Routier has asked to conduct such testing.
Judge Francis ignored Ms. Routier's request for access to the
Ruling against Ms. Routier, Judge Francis found that this
evidence would not have been helpful to Ms. Routier because the fibers in
the fingerprint brush were larger in diameter than the fibers used in the
screen. Judge Francis did not mention at all the possibility that the
debris on the knife was fingerprint powder.
Judge Francis also found that the knife was not even dusted
for fingerprints. He made this finding even though Ms. Routier's
allegation that the kitchen knife was dusted for fingerprints was
supported by a police officer's testimony at trial that he had thoroughly
dusted for fingerprints in the Routier's kitchen.
Judge Francis could not have come to either conclusion fairly.
There was a dispute as to whether the police dusted the knife for
fingerprints, and that dispute could not have been resolved without the
questioning of crime scene investigators in a hearing. Judge Francis did
not even consider whether the debris on the knife could have come from
fingerprint powder (as distinct from the fingerprint brush), nor did he
permit the defense expert access to the knife to test whether the debris
was from fingerprint powder.
Ms. Routier Will Continue Her Quest to Show that She Is
Judge Francis' ruling denying Ms. Routier's habeas corpus
proceeding will be forwarded to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for
review. Ms. Routier's counsel will file objections to Judge Francis'
findings with the Court of Criminal Appeals and will ask that her case be
sent back to Judge Francis for a fair review, including access to the
evidence, testing of new evidence, additional testing of evidence already
tested at trial, and a hearing on all the evidence.
In November, 2003, Ms. Routier filed a motion asking for DNA
testing of numerous items of evidence. Judge Francis has ignored this
motion altogether, not even requiring the prosecution to account for the
evidence that she seeks to test, as Texas law requires Judge Francis to do
when such a motion is filed. Today, Ms. Routier has filed a mandamus
petition with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals asking that it require
Judge Francis to comply with his obligations under the DNA testing
Ms. Routier has consistently maintained that she is innocent from
the moment she was accused of killing her children. She continues to
maintain her innocence. Because she is innocent, she is confident that,
when she is provided a fair opportunity to test the evidence and present
the evidence of her innocence to a fair and impartial judge, she will be
found to have been wrongfully convicted.