Routier appeals await more tests

Mother is ‘encouraged’ by developments

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Darlie Lynn Routier homicide case from Dallas County, Texas, have asked a judge to continue to hold her state and federal appeals in abeyance so additional DNA testing can be completed.

Routier, 48, the Altoona native who sits on death row in the Texas State Prison in Gatesville, was convicted of killing her 5-year-old son, Damon, on June 6, 1996.

Her 6-year-old son, Devon, also died in what Routier reported was a home invasion that occurred as she and the children slept in the downstairs television room of their Rowlett, Texas, home.

Her husband, Darin, was upstairs with their newborn, Drake, when the attack occurred.

Routier proclaimed she was severely injured by a knife-wielding burglar who inflicted wounds to her arms, face and neck.

However, investigators almost immediately focused on the young housewife as the killer and arrested her within two weeks of the killings.

She was convicted and sentenced to death by a jury seven months later.

During the trial, Routier proclaimed her innocence, and since then, her case has been the subject of at least five books and numerous television interviews as well as a recent ABC-TV documentary titled “The Last Defense.”

Routier’s mother, Darlie Kee, who was born and raised in Altoona, continues her quest to exonerate her daughter and plans a “Convoy for Justice” in June to mark what would have been Devon’s 30th birthday.

Attorneys for Routier and the Texas Attorney General’s Office are required to submit a status report to the federal court every six months.

Both state and federal appeals were filed more than a decade ago, but hearings have been put on hold because evidence found at scene has been undergoing DNA testing through the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Items involved in the tests include portions of Routier’s nightgown, a bloody sock found in a drainage ditch several houses away from the scene, an unidentified bloody fingerprint found on a coffee table in the home, a knife from the home, considered to be the possible murder weapon, and many other items.

In the most recent development the state judge hearing the case on Nov. 28 approved further testing of DNA found on five additional items.

The Y-Strand DNA found on the items is focused on an unknown male.

Routier’s mother said Wednesday that the additional items for testing represent hope in her struggle for exoneration.

Kee believes one of the items for testing included DNA on the bloody sock from an unknown male.

Also, there were spots on Routier’s nightgown that also were from an unknown male.

She said she doesn’t know precisely the items included in the latest judge’s order but concluded, “I’m very encouraged.”

The DNA testing in the Routier case has taken years because there is such a backlog, Kee stated.

For instance she said the department doing the testing has a backlog from 1,800 rape investigations. Also any new case takes precedence.

Routier’s Houston attorney, Richard A. Smith, was not available for comment Wednesday.

Smith said in an interview earlier this month — but after the judge had added the five items to the list — the tests are yielding some interesting results but nothing yet that would exonerate Routier.

He is among the attorneys who have filed a federal petition pointing out deficiencies in Routier’s legal representation during her trial.

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