- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

DALLAS — An appeal by a Dallas woman convicted of fatally stabbing her two young sons five years ago casts doubt on the long-held innocence of her husband and blames her defense attorney for shielding the husband from scrutiny.
Darlie Routier, then a chubby 27-year-old blonde, was convicted of the June 1996 death of 5-year-old Damon in their fashionable suburban home in Rowlett. Six-year-old Devon also was slain.
Mrs. Routier maintained that a masked intruder had superficially slashed her with a knife and then murdered both children, who had been sleeping on a couch with her downstairs.
The victims' father, Darin, was said to have been upstairs sleeping alone in a bedroom when the killings occurred.
Mrs. Routier was convicted here in 1997 and sentenced to death. She since has been incarcerated on the state's women's death row at Gatesville, Texas.
Her appeals process has been lengthy and unusual, with portions of the official trial record destroyed or lost.
Through it all, the accused has denied guilt and strongly denied that her husband was guilty.
The appeal filed last week does not accuse the husband of complicity, but points out several instances in which he has told different stories about the events of that fateful evening.
The main contention in the defense filing was that Mrs. Routier's lead attorney, Doug Mulder, represented Mr. Routier in a gag order hearing in October 1996, thus setting up a conflict of interest.
Her current defense attorneys claim that a conflict of interest may have kept Mr. Mulder from exploring "inconsistencies" in Mr. Routier's testimony inconsistencies that could have cast doubt on Mrs. Routier's guilt.
The defense brief said Mr. Routier made "suspiciously inconsistent statements" about blood on his bluejeans.
"According to the police report, he didn't explain how blood got on his jeans because he said he came down the stairs naked and got blood on his stomach and bare knees while trying to give CPR to Devon," the report said.
Hours later, at a hospital where Mrs. Routier was being treated for a series of minor slash wounds, police asked him about the blood. He said he rushed naked to his family's aid when he heard his wife scream, then returned upstairs to dress.
But at a bond hearing where Mr. Routier was represented by Mr. Mulder, he testified that he had taken time to put on his jeans before he rushed downstairs to see why Mrs. Routier was screaming.
The defense brief also charged that police had evidence connecting Darin Routier to the crime, including a hair from his head found on the knife used to kill the boys and fibers from his sneakers discovered on a bloody sock found in an alley behind the Routier home.
Mr. Mulder denied any conflict of interest. He said his representation of Mr. Routier was limited to one brief hearing on a gag order, but that he felt strongly the verdict should be overturned because of the faulty trial record.

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