Routier's team seeks evidence

Judge to rule Monday on whether items must be turned over; writ needed, prosecutors say


By ROBERT THARP / The Dallas Morning News

Five attorneys representing convicted murderer Darlie Routier argued Wednesday that prosecutors should turn over evidence in her capital murder conviction for new tests.

Ms. Routier's legal team is asking for access to several items seized from her Rowlett home June 6, 1996, the night her young sons, Devon and Damon, were stabbed to death.

According to a defense motion, attorneys hope to conduct their own forensic tests to bolster her argument that an intruder slipped into the home, attacked her and killed the boys.

  Attorneys for Darlie Routier,
who attended the hearing,
hope to conduct forensic tests
on items taken from her home.

Judge Robert Francis said he will rule Monday on the motion. Ms. Routier, transferred to Dallas County Jail from women's death row in Gatesville, was present for the hourlong hearing.

Prosecutor John Rolater Jr. opposed the defense request for access to evidence, saying such motions should be made after the attorneys file a writ of habeas corpus. Attorneys have until July 13 to file that challenge to her conviction based on new evidence or arguments not addressed in the initial trial.

Items sought by Ms. Routier's attorneys include a nightshirt she wore on the night of the slaying. Attorneys hope to show that the shirt has evidence of cutting that would be inconsistent with prosecutors' allegations that her chest wounds were self-inflicted.

Attorneys also want to analyze carpet and floor samples, as well as a kitchen knife and a window screen.

Ms. Routier indicated to Judge Francis that she had met each of the attorneys and wanted their representation.

Besides attorney Steven Losch, who was not present but spoke with the judge by telephone during the hearing, Ms. Routier's legal team includes three attorneys from a firm in Washington, D.C., who are working at no charge.

Dallas attorney J. Stephen Cooper, who was initially appointed to handle the appeal of her conviction under review by the Court of Criminal Appeals, rounds out the defense team.