A status report filed by an assistant attorney general in Austin, Texas, says that DNA testing in the Darlie Routier death penalty case is ongoing, and he recommended the U.S. Federal District Court in West Texas continue to maintain a stay on any further hearing until state proceedings have been concluded.
The report has been filed by Assistant Attorney General Tomee M. Heining.
Heining was under order of the federal court's chief judge, Fred Biery, to keep him informed as to what is occurring in the Routier case at the state level.
Routier filed her federal appeal nine years ago, but the federal case was put on hold in 2009.
The federal proceedings remained in limbo until last year, when the judge indicated he wanted to move the case to hearing because nobody filed any updates for almost three years.
Both sides, however, asked the case not move ahead just yet.
Biery retorted he wanted an update every six months.
That order was issued on Jan. 16.
Heining has now filed the six-month report based on information provided by Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Smith.
It stated that a hearing was held on May 2, during which the University of North Texas Science Center stated it could not perform DNA testing on fragments of Routier's night shirt because that lab does not perform the type of tests Routier's attorney have requested - quantification analysis.
The defense is asking for its own expert to examine the DNA evidence in the Routier case. A request has also be filed for DNA analysis of other items in the homicide case.
The defense expert then reviewed the evidence, and that was followed by a hearing on June 13 in which the prosecution objected to Routier's request for DNA testing of additional items.
Another hearing is scheduled for July 18 to discuss the various motions for DNA testing.
Also, the prosecution and defense are to meet to discuss a testing schedule.
"Therefore, the possibility of DNA testing is still ongoing," according to the Heining status report.
Routier remains on death row for the murder of two of her three boys in 1996.
The Altoona-area native has long maintained her innocence, contending that an intruder entered her Texas home on June 6, 1996, and killed Devon, 6, and Damon, 5, who were sleeping downstairs with their mother.
Routier's former husband, Darin, was in an upstairs bedroom with the couple's infant child. They were not attacked.
Routier also was stabbed that night, but police contend she inflicted the wounds on herself.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.