It might seem an unlikely comparison. Could these two women, their crimes and circumstances separated by a decade, have much in common? Yes. Darlie Routier was the topic of a recent Discovery ID program, interviewed by German filmmaker Werner Herzog. Although Herzog appeared sympathetic to Routier, the program prompted my memory of just how horrific this crime was. Also, I was struck by many commonalities between Darlie Routier and Amanda Knox. Both were convicted of brutal stabbing murders, both left bloodsoaked victims and crime scenes, and both exhibited very similar behavior.
Seattle student Amanda Knox, now 26 years old, was convicted in Perugia, Italy, as one of three accomplices in the 2007 stabbing death of her British roommate and ERASMUS scholar, 21-year old Meredith Kercher. While readers here are likely well-versed in the case history of Knox, the Routier case may not be familiar to those residing outside the States. It was a shocking crime and rocked the entire country.
Darlie Lynn Routier, of Rowlett, Texas, was 26 years old on June 6, 1996, the date she murdered her two young boys, Devon, 6, and Damon, 5. Of course, there was a wide age discrepancy between Meredith and the Routier boys, and she was unrelated to her murderer, while Darlie victimized her very own flesh and blood. But a closer scrutiny of both crimes reveals many, many similarities.
Amanda Knox and Darlie Routier were tried, convicted, and both are now exhausting their appeals. Amanda Knox’s final appeal in Florence, Italy, will be determined on points of law and not new evidence. Darlie Routier petitioned a Texas US District Court challenging the prosecution’s theory of the case, the handling of the evidence by police and the alleged lack of assistance of counsel.
Murder weapon placed on kitchen counter by Darlie Routier
Sometime after 2:00 a.m. on June 6, 1996, Darlie Lynn Routier was allegedly asleep on the couch of the downstairs family room of the couple’s Rowlett, Texas home. Her two young sons were reported to have been sleeping on the floor just a foot or two away from her. Although Routier has given various versions of events, the short story is that she was asleep, awakened by Damon “tapping her on the shoulder, saying ‘Mommy, Mommy” while she saw the back of a man walking through her kitchen. Some versions include the man trying to “mount her” first. She then followed him through her kitchen, into the utility room and garage, where he disappeared into the night. Darlie “saw him” drop a bloody knife on the utility room floor. She picked it up and placed it on the kitchen counter.
Observation: Darlie Routier and Amanda Knox share intermittent memory lapse syndrome, offering various alibis to police and prosecutors. As you will see, both purport to have problems with reality, with what is real, imagined, dreamed, could have been true, what is the best truth and in Darlie’s case, what could be “assumed” is true.
The Routier brothers looking very solemn for two little boys
Although Devon and Damon Routier suffered massive and mortal stab wounds, Darlie claimed Damon was standing, following her while she gestured for him to stay behind. Focused on the intruder, turning on the kitchen light, she saw blood on her nightshirt and realized she had injuries. Yelling for her husband, she saw that her young sons were covered in blood — although whether Damon was “still standing” at this stage is unclear. Indeed, the medical examiners (one for each boy) ruled that they suffocated from blood filling their lungs and painfully bled to death. Darlie, on the other hand, never stopped talking from the time responders arrived throughout the paramedics arrival, attending to her and transporting her via ambulance to the hospital. Paramedics testified she did not appear to be in shock, her vitals were stable, and she never once asked about her sons. Medical staff backed this up, also testifying that Darlie communicated at great length about herself but never once asked about her sons. The woman is a monster who, just like Amanda Knox, has never expressed remorse or genuine concern for their victims.
The medical personnel treating her reported that her wounds were superficial, definitely not life threatening, and could have been self-inflicted. Her wounds easily treated, doctors would have released her in a day or two, but they wanted to protect her from a media onslaught and possible emotional trauma from her sons’ murder. They kept her an extra day. Her attending physicans and nurses testified that Darlie volunteered considerable and evolving details about the intruder and how her own fingerprints were now on the murder weapon. No one asked her for that information and the staff found her behavior odd. There was NO reference to her sons the entire time.
Observation: Both the Knox and Routier crime scenes were bloody, and their victims died terrible deaths, their lungs swimming in their own blood, ultimately bleeding to death after brutal knife assaults.
Darin, Darlie and boys
Darin Routier, Darlie’s now ex-husband, claimed that he and their infant son, Drake, slept upstairs unharmed through the attack. Both adults in this household slept through a vicious and deadly knife attack on two young boys. Personally, I believe Darin was complicit in this crime, possibly “assisting” Darlie with her self-inflicted wounds. He acknowledged planning a fake burglary in the prior weeks, an insurance scam designed to net them some much-needed cash. But Darin insisted that no one would be home when the “burglary” took place. He claimed to have given up on the plan.
On this night, however, everyone was home. Darlie, a light sleeper, not only slept through the slaughter of her sons a few feet away from her, she claims to have slept through the intruder’s infliction of her own wounds. This particular intruder was a very lucky man. He was able to inflict numerous and deep knife wounds on TWO young boys, who must have been so silent throughout that their mother, sleeping just a couple of feet away, slept right through it. He was even luckier that she slept through his knife assault on her and the prelude to a sexual assault (the “mounting” and fighting she sometimes/sometimes not recalled.) Indeed he showed his gratitude by dropping the murder weapon and leaving the premises despite leaving a live witness (Darlie) who could now identify him and send him to prison.
At some point, Darlie placed an emergency call. Read here for the complete 911 call transcript, a call lasting 5 minutes, 44 seconds. For those who prefer not to read the accompanying statement analysis, ignore the commentary, but please read her words because they are important, revealing her priorities. Before the paramedics arrived, police officer David Waddell was the first responder. The immediate crime scene, and the behavior of Darlie and Darin Routier, is described here in the testimony of Officer David Waddell. Warning: graphic and disturbing content.
Observation: Knox and Routier both asserted law enforcement incompetence and charged that they were framed by investigators. Knox and her supporters have impugned the integrity of the Italian justice system and the entire country, insisting she was brutalized and targeted as a naive young American woman. Ironically, Darlie Routier was investigated, tried and convicted here in our own domestic justice system ten years prior to Meredith Kercher’s murder, yet her complaints mirror Knox’s – excluding police brutality.
Officer Waddell’s supervisor, Lt. Matthew Walling, soon arrived on the scene followed by other investigators. All shared the impression that there was no evidence of an intruder, believing that the murders were an inside job. Nothing was adding up. Darlie Routier’s pricey jewelry remained neatly placed, untouched and visible on the kitchen counter beside her purse. They noted her odd behavior. She didn’t budge from the kitchen area, speaking loudly, preoccupied with her fingerprints on the knife [later identified as another knife from her own knife block] and repeatedly speaking of the intruder. Officer Waddell couldn’t determine whether she was on the phone or not, a cordless phone which would have allowed her the freedom to move out of the kitchen.
Despite his numerous requests for her to place towels on Damon’s back, she ignored him — although she had a wet towel placed around her neck. Routier would later testify (again, repeatedly) that she “didn’t know what she was doing,” that she didn’t recall the 911 conversation, but she disputed the officer’s testimony that she ignored her dying sons. Selective memory?
Obervation: Both Amanda Knox and Darlie Routier staged scenes for mystery intruders and burglars. In the former, an upstairs bedroom window was shattered from inside. The ground outside, a steep drop from the window, was undisturbed. Knox told the postal police that someone had broken into this room, her roommate Filomena’s bedroom, and that the carabinieri had been notified. Phone records confirmed that her lover of a week, Raffaele Sollecito, placed the emergency call to the carabinieri AFTER the arrival of the the postal police who were only there concerning Filomena’s stolen cell phone. Sollecito told the carabinieri that there was a burglary but “nothing was missing.” Concealing Meredith’s murder from them, Filomena arrived home unexpectedly and insisted that Meredith’s locked door be forced open.
Darlie’s staged scene involved the window screen in the Routiers’ garage, slashed with a knife from her own kitchen. Investigators determined that an intruder could have easily removed the screen – no need to cut it. Darlie testified that she was aware of leaving the garage window open, but couldn’t provide an explanation for why she opened it. There was no evidence to support a stranger assault and murder. Blood was contained within the house – no blood on the window presumed to be the entrance/exit used by intruder, no blood on the sill or outside. The ground was undisturbed. With the exception of a smudged, fragmented fingerprint* that was not identifiable, forensic testing revealed that the copious blood and DNA belonged to Darlie, Devon and Damon.
Darlie authorized the exhumation of her sons’ bodies to have their fingerprints taken [footprints were taken of the boys at autopsy, but it was not routine then to take fingerprints of small children.] The boys, buried holding hands, with knives placed in their casket, were subjected to the indignity in death of having their small hands cut off to obtain the prints.
* Updated forensic testing was ordered at the request of the defendant in 2008 yet the results were not reported and the case lagged indefinitely. The District Court Judge expressed impatience. Excerpted from the Altoona Mirror on January 29, 2014:
Chief Judge of the Western District Fred Biery has now granted the request for the Routier case to remain in the federal court.
He stated, “The parties should be advised, however, this court will not continue to retain this case on its docket indefinitely without some indication the parties are seriously pursing relief in the state courts and further delay in this disposition of this case is reasonably necessary.”
The judge ordered that beginning June 30, he wants to see status reports on the DNA testing every 180 days.
Darlie spraying Silly String on murdered sons’ grave
In the next installments, we’ll look at many more comparisons between the two women, their crimes, their personality traits.
Both had financial problems preceding the murders. Both crime scenes revealed cleanup efforts illuminated by presumptive testing with Luminol. Both claimed forensic contamination of evidence. Both women offered written statements to police and left a virtual library of written material that only served to complicate their defense. Both named innocent men for their crimes, and both can’t get their stories straight. In Darlie’s case, she still seeks to find the murderer, reminiscent of OJ Simpson. Both are loud extroverts seeking media attention, Darlie going so far as to invite neighbors and the media to Devon’s graveside 7th birthday party mere days after the boys’ murder [now known as the Silly String party]. The public, and later the jury, were appalled to see this gum-chewing, laughing, prancing mom spraying silly string all over the fresh graves of her murdered sons. Darlie fans explain away her behavior, insisting that the solemn graveside prayers of a minister preceded her silly string antics. True. And her behavior was disrespectful and self-absorbed, or they would be promoting it at every opportunity. Everyone grieves differently.
Amanda Knox and Darlie Routier have families, friends and strangers dedicated to proving their innocence, Amanda Knox even hired a PR firm. Her victim, Meredith Kercher, was largely forgotten as the media focused exclusively on Knox, until a group of dedicated volunteers provided translated court transcripts and testimony accessible to the public. Meredith’s supporters launched a massive and successful campaign based on evidence, truth and telling Meredith’s story. As for Darlie’s innocence campaign, read the following excerpt below from an early interview with her then-husband Darin:
If Darin Routier and Darlie Kee still mourn inwardly, they are outwardly readying for battle. Darlie Routier’s family stands staunchly behind her claim of innocence, but it is her husband and mother who have seized the torch and are running with it. The two have appeared 10 times on nationally televised talk shows. They have printed bumper stickers and created a toll-free phone number ( (888) 883-FAIR) appealing for donations and information that could help “find the person who attacked Darlie and murdered her children.” They have drawn the support of a Mesquite church, Morningstar Life Ministries, death-penalty opponents and, just a month ago, a wealthy Waco insurance executive.
“We are the underdog,” Darin emphasizes. “As far as the courts and half the people in the United States are concerned, she’s a convicted baby killer.”
Devon and Damon, RIP
Meredith Kercher, RIP
Sadly, Devon and Damon Routier have fallen into oblivion. While Amanda Knox and Darlie Routier manipulate the media and seek to overshadow their victims, we are here to present the facts that support their convictions for coldblooded murder. Dedicated to the cause of justice, we won’t let Meredith Kercher be forgotten. And we can be the quiet, steady voice that advocates for young Devon and Damon Routier.
What do you think, readers? As always, we want to hear from you. Join me next time!