Routier's attorneys continue appeal fight
By:SEAN CHAFFIN , Staff writer 09/07/2000
A protestor stands on the corner of the Frank Crowley building Friday morning in support of Darlie Routier. The judge decided to cancel the local hearing. Kris Koppe / Staff photo
Darlie Routier has returned to the Metroplex this week as her attorneys attempt to reconstruct a transcript of the February 1997 trial in which she was convicted of killing her 5-year-old son and sentenced to die.

Prosecutors hope new evidence and a flawed transcript from the original trial will help get a new trial for Routier. Prosecutors and her lawyers will attempt again to reconstruct the transcript from her trial Friday morning during a hearing in Dallas.

After the original trial, which was moved to Kerrville, Routier's lawyers began challenging the validity of the court record because of inaccuracies in the court transcript. In a February trial, an expert court reporter in a Dallas district court refused to certify a portion of the 1997 transcript. An audio tape of the trial also turned up missing and the court reporter testified 33,000 errors were in the original transcript.

Attorneys for Routier say the former Rowlett woman is entitled to a new trial because of the flawed transcript, and say they are now in a better position to overturn the 1997 conviction.

Routier's attorney, Stephen Cooper, has a two-year goal of getting a new trial for Routier. Next week's trial is Routier's first trial in several months and again will focus on reconstructing the transcript of the original trial.

"There's been a two-year effort to reconstruct this transcript," he said. "We have had 20-plus hearings on this issue.
"We haven't had one in six months, I guess that's why all the news media is going crazy."
Routier was convicted for the 1996 stabbing death of her 5-year-old son, Damon. Her 6-year-old son, Devon, was also killed in the stabbing attack in the Routiers' former home in Rowlett. Her defenders claim their argument that an intruder entered the home was strengthened this week when Robert C. Lohnes Sr., a retired detective and fingerprint expert, said that a bloody fingerprint found on the Routiers' coffee table could not have been left by Devon, who died near the piece of evidence.

Attorneys argued about the fingerprint during the original trial, but it could not be compared to those of the two boys because investigators did not take the boys' prints during their original investigation. However, family members recently found a set of fingerprints for Devon taken as part of a school safety program. Lohnes said the print ruled out Darin, Darlie and Devon. There are no prints for Damon that can be matched.

Lead prosecutor Greg Davis, however, believed the fingerprint could have been Damon's, because blood evidence supported the finding that he moved after the attack, unlike Devon. A state fingerprint expert also questioned the validity of the fingerprints found by the Routiers.

"I don't think it has any impact," Davis said of the fingerprint evidence. "It's totally consistent with what we thought all along. (Devon) was stabbed right through the heart and never moved."
Davis said the transcript had to be verified before the Routier attorneys could appeal their case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He doesn't believe Routier will get a new trial and said the Routier family exhumed the bodies of the two boys a couple of months ago. He said if there was a fingerprint discrepancy, the prints could have been matched up at that time. The family could have seen whether the fingerprint matched Damon's, he said.
"They haven't talked at all about that," he said.

The Routier family has remained very supportive of her and say they still believe she is innocent of the crimes. The case remains not only of local interest, but a global story.
To this day, Routier and her husband Darin maintain her innocence and insist the murders were the result of an intruder entering their home.

Prosecutors in the case have maintained that they convicted the right person in the murders. Mike Carnes, a prosecutor in the case, told The Rowlett Lakeshore Times earlier this year that all evidence was covered in the original trial and that a new trial for Routier would result in the same result. Prosecutors argue that even through there were discrepancies in some of the transcript, the jury reached the right conclusion.

"Several people sat thought that trial, including 12 jurors who found her guilty of the crime," he said. "I have yet to see any evidence come across my desk that would convince the state otherwise."

Contact staff writer Sean Chaffin at 972-285-6301.

ŠThe Lakeshore Times 2003