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Darlie Routier

A violent struggle, in which two children ages 5 and 6 are stabbed to death with a kitchen knife. Their mother is taken into custody. Nerves on all sides crackle in a tense Dallas courtroom as the prosecuting attorney approaches the jury...

Thank you, I'll wrap this up as quickly as possible. Ladies and gentlemen, I intend to prove the woman pictured above, Darlie Lynn Routier, stabbed and murdered her own children, Damon and Devon, while they slept in their own home on June the 6th, 1996.

The evidence will show you that this woman, the woman sitting right over there, this spiritless creature with unbleached roots and fake airbag tits, conforms perfectly to the universally-defined textbook definition of predator mommy. Although you'd never guess just by looking at her three-story mansion in the fashionable suburb of Rowlett, Texas.

As soon as Darlie Routier moved into this home with her wealthy, entrepreneurial husband Darin, she began snatching up all manner of things which might better illustrate her financial success. Lighted water fountains, satellite dishes, jewelry, fancy clothes, and leather furniture. Even a Jaguar automobile! Bling bling, ma'am! In 1995, the Routiers took several vacations. They bought a nine thousand dollar redwood spa for the backyard. A twenty-four thousand dollar cabin cruiser for the lake. In 1996, Darlie Routier had an expensive new baby named Drake, keeping her busier than she'd ever been with her two other children, Devon and Damon.

But instead of investing or saving the money from her henpecked hubby's thriving business, the defendant preferred to spend the profits on herself. It's no exaggeration to say that in a very short time, the money just plain ran out.

And sigh, there was now the matter of her ever-expanding waistline. All that gosh darned weight from her pregnancies. No longer was she the glamorous center of attention. As if it isn't bad enough staring at banner ads targeting fat people every time you check your Yahoo! mail. All these fucking kids, Jesus Christ. No wonder you're so enormous, she must have said to herself. No wonder you're so hyperactive and excitable, desperately clinging to the belief that permanent, perpetual motherhood might somehow fill the void better than a tanning booth or a new Range Rover. And where did my childhood go, anyway? Don't I get that back? Hello? Anyone? I'm still young, here! Who wants to take some E and go dancing?

But there would be no ecstasy for Darlie Routier. No rolling on the bean, no methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Only fat pills. Only Prozac, Xanax, Wellbutrin could possibly keep this material girl's needs at bay.

It all happened so fast, and it just kept getting worse. When the Jaguar stopped running, Darlie had no transportation. That's right: stuck at home all day long with three little shits. This is Rowlett, we're talking about. You have to walk a long way in the hot sun just to find a mattress outlet. The cabin cruiser on the lake? That wasn't working either. Exacerbating her inability to find inner happiness was the fact that her husband's business was starting to flatten out. This family of five had no savings account, no retirement account, and less than $2000 in the bank. If Darlie's mental state was a cartoon sound, it would be Sideshow Bob's slide whistle, twiddling sadly from high to low.

Their situation grew so bleak, that on June lst of 1996—five days before the murders—the Routiers tried to borrow five thousand dollars from a bank in Rowlett. Because of their hemorrhaging credit situation, they were turned down.

Darlie Routier was becoming angry. The lifestyle she'd grown accustomed to, the vacations, the buying sprees, the freedom—those things were starting to disappear. There had to be more to life than this. How to get it? How to get back on top? Something had to go. It wouldn't be the cedar-beamed cathedral ceilings, nor the French attic bathroom flooded with natural light. It couldn't be the espresso machine—but ah, the cutlery! That would prove itself an indispensable component of Darlie's preferred solution.

911: What is your emergency?

Darlie Routier: Somebody came here ... they broke in ... they just stabbed me and my children ... they stabbed me and my kids ... my little boys ... oh my God ... my baby's dead ... Damon ... hold on honey...

911: Ma'am listen ... listen to me...

Darlie Routier: I don't know who it was ... we got to find out who it was ...

911: I need you to talk to me ...

Darlie Routier: Some man ... came in ... stabbed my babies ... stabbed me ... I woke up ... I was fighting ... he ran out through the garage ... threw the knife down ... my babies are dying ... they're dead ... oh my God ...

911: Is there anybody in the house besides you and your children ...

Darlie Routier: No ... my husband he just ran downstairs ... he's helping me ... but they're dying ... oh my God ... they're dead...

911: Listen to me ... calm down ...

Darlie Routier: I feel really bad ... I think I'm dying... who would do this ... who would do this...

911: Okay ...

Darlie Routier: He ran out ... uh ... they ran out in the garage ... I was sleeping... somebody who did it intentionally walked in here and did it ...

911: ma'am ... hang on ... hang on a second...

RADIO: [unintelligible]

Darlie Routier: I saw them Darin...

Darin Routier: They came in here ...

Darlie Routier: I don't know who it was...

Darin, the father, panicked. He attempted to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Devon, who was still wearing his Power Rangers pajamas. He clamped his son's nostrils shut and breathed hard into Devon's mouth, but massive arcs of blood sprayed back from the boy's chest into his face.

Darin Routier: [unintelligible]

Listen ... There's a police officer at your front door ... is your front door unlocked?

Darlie Routier: There's nothing touched?

Nothing's gone Mrs. Routier...

Darlie Routier: Ya'll look out in the garage ... look out in the garage ... they left a knife laying on ... God ...I bet if we could have gotten the prints maybe ... maybe ...

SOUND: [dog barking]

It was policeman David Waddell who arrived on the scene. He sickened at the sight, reeling back from the overwhelming smell of blood. Breathing deeply to contain his senses, he instructed Darlie to lay towels across Damon, and apply pressure to his wounds. She ignored him. She continued to scream at the officer that the intruder might still be in the garage. She described her attacker as a man of medium-to-tall height, dressed entirely in black: T-shirt, jeans and baseball cap.

911: There's a knife? Don't touch anything--

Darlie Routier: I already touched it
and picked it up--
911 Operator: Uh... it's all right... it's okay...

Knife, knife, knife and baseball caps and your fucking fingerprints? Stop talking about that shit, lady! Now might be a good time to clamp your mouth shut already. Darlie Routier might as well have used a potato peeler to whittle these kids down to wedge-cut curly fries. She could have strung them up the backyard lemon tree like a pinata. A plastic Safeway bag. Anything. Ridiculous statements like these delivered moments after a violent midnight crime in her own home quickly drew suspicion, and Darlie Routier became the object of intense scrutiny.

Everything authorities saw at the crime scene was laughable. The lack of a blood trail away from the house. No footprints, no fingerprints. Two adults fighting over a remote control would have resulted in more busted-up furniture, but there were no signs of struggle anywhere in the Routier home.

Okay, fine: a lampshade was askew. But the expensive flowers soaking in Evian water and lemon juice which lay beside a coffee table—fragile stems unbroken—clearly hadn't fallen over. They'd been arranged.

How did Martha Stewart get where she is today? Not by setting a perfect table and clipping deadheads off the begonias, that's for sure. You've got to take what you want, whatever the cost. Detective Jimmy Patterson conferred with Dr. Townsend-Parchman about Darlie's bruises and neck slashings allegedly perpetrated by the phantom intruder. The boys were maliciously, forcefully attacked —but Darlie's wounds were primarily surface. And odd, like those doctors like to call "hesitation wounds". That is to say: when the knife is deliberately cut into the skin. When pain is encountered, the person holding the blade freaks out and reflexively withdraws it.

It's unlikely a killer would slice two people one way, and a third in a different way. As she sat in the courtroom, Darlie Routier hoped the jury would believe she'd been suffering from traumatic amnesia, and that she couldn't much recall the events of that night. Her recollection of the intruder's appearance had deteriorated to the point of being worthless. Nevertheless, the attack on these children was personal. "The killer focused on their chests," FBI agent Al Brantley emphasized, "almost as if going for their hearts. That indicates an extreme anger."

Amnesia and extreme anger? Toward these two precious little angels sent from heaven? Gee whiz. Yes, let us never lose sight of interchangeable Devon and Damon alongside baby Drake: three costly young boys assigned drippy, melodramatic soap opera names, ultimately destined for onomatopoetic dustbins of disaster. Christ lady, why not Dylan, Daegan and Dakota?

Or hey, what' s wrong with Dalton? What about Darby? Or Duke, Dustin, Dugan, Dudley, Donovan, Dominic, Dolph, Dolan, Dixon, Diego, Dexter, Desmond, Derrick, or Dermot. Or Dennis, or Delbert, for that matter. Why not turn this case into the Dillwad/Dickweed murders?

You're looking at what could have been the Backstreet Boys of a future generation, but Darlie Routier robbed us of that gift. No matter now you choose to dress and fuss over these two foppish would-be homosexual juvenile delinquents with hearts that beat of purest gold—in this particular case, D stands for dead.

Rumor has it when the morgue attendants zipped up what was left of little Devon into the body bag, an officer who considered himself "a pretty tough dude" turned his face away and sobbed. Which leads us to Exhibit SS-1.

Police maintained diligent 24-hour video and audio surveillance of Damon and Devon's grave site, in the hopes of catching Darlie break down or confess during a private, somber moment of remorse. They didn't have to wait long. On what would have been Devon's 7th birthday, Darlie organized a posthumous graveside picnic party sing-a-long ice cream social, where she was videotaped spraying a can of fluorescent pink Silly String all over the freshly-padded grave. She laughed, chewed bubble gum, and sang Happy Birthday. Local television station KXAS-5 TV (Kicks Ass TV) was invited along to record the event, more or less negating the cops' need to maintain surveillance in the first place.

Horrified party guests stood mute and skeptical as Darlie Routier shrieked "I love you, Devon and Damon!" without any noticeable signs of grief. One was reminded of that big ol' black lady who screamed "I hate you Jeffrey" at the Dahmer trial.

To justify her actions, Darlie later said, "If you knew [my sons], you'd know they're up in heaven having the biggest birthday party we could ever imagine. And though our hearts are breaking, they wouldn't want us to be unhappy. But they'll be a part of us always. And they played with Silly String all the time."

Darlie Routier's defense team rushed to squelch the significance of the Silly String tape. Would the prosecution honestly have the jury believe this harmless, candy-colored aerosol foam lends insight into the mind of a distraught mother? By concluding this can of Silly String was tantamount to some kind of murder weapon? God knows you can certainly annoy someone with sillied string. It's wet and wiggly, even ice cold when first ejected. It's sticky and surprising. And then, without so much as a moment's notice, it solidifies into a Styrofoam-like consistency around your face. It restricts your breathing. It's impossible to remove from hair. It robs you of your dignity, your self-respect, maybe even your soul. But would that be "silly" enough for this Texas jury?

You can hold the can against the side of your nose and shoot fake snot streams across the room, while horrid gurgling noises percolate from your throat. We all saw Big with Tom Hanks. We've all seen America's Funniest Home Videos, where the 11-year-old birthday girl is sprayed by six party guests while blowing out her candles. She was instantly engulfed by flames—but the substance all by itself is harmless. The label clearly says non-toxic.

Why don't we return to the grave site in our imaginations? Bailiff, you take the can while I put on this modest party hat. Now take three big steps back and hose me down. Gimme a whole lotta pressure. A whole lotta good squirts up and down. Do it! We're having a wake! We're mourning the passing of two dead children! Soak me good! Shoot it out! Yes!

Observe me now, ladies and gentlemen. Do I look like a "crazy" woman to you? Someone so insanely in debt and out-of-control on fat pills that I need to resort to murdering my own children just to get by? To fix that goddamn rusty boat sitting in the driveway? To get a second TiVo hooked up in the guest bedroom? Look in your heart of hearts, and no doubt you'll see quite the opposite.

This pink balloon's name is Darlie Routier, ladies and gentlemen —a distraught, frantic mother. She was wounded that night, clinging to hope. Collapsing in a panic while trying to dial 911 with her nose. The air is quite literally leaking out of her. She's making loud, squeaking sounds. At any moment she might fly across the room—fluttering, flopping, only to melt on the radiator. It's all up to you people. Don't let Darlie Routier go pop.

And gosh, I'd be lying if I said all that Silly String didn't remind me of the big, sloppy facials I've come to enjoy in pornographic books and magazines. I'm not "distracting" the jury, your Honor. Hear me out. I'm suggesting we ease back in our chairs for just a moment—and take a break, and enjoy some charts and graphs I spent a lot of time and money on at Kinko's.

These huge blowups took forever thanks to the dimwitted, incompetent fools working behind the counter. Fucking assholes is what they are. It's Nazi Germany every time I set foot in that place. And you can't even steal printouts or computer time from them anymore. In late 2001, in a desperate bid to prevent millions of dollars's worth of theft, each Mac and PC at Kinko's was equipped with a device requiring a valid credit card. So enjoy this slick paper and matte cardstock, it cost me well over a grand.

Anyway, I know the blacks are more like browns and the color separation is a bit askew, but the thrust of my argument speaks for itself, ladies and gentlemen: blowjobs and facials—gotta love 'em!

If Ms. Routier didn't commit this crime, what a fortunate assailant there must be running around this desolate Texas neighborhood. He goes in and brutally murders two children. He slashes their mother's throat as they're struggling face to face. He drops the knife and she wipes off his prints. He runs away, but leaves Darlie alive—the one woman who could identify him, and send him to the gas chamber. Then, d'oh, she gets amnesia and can't remember what he looks like. This must be the luckiest goddamn child killer in the universe.

Four days after being videotaped with Silly String, Darlie Routier was arrested and charged with double murder. She was found guilty, and today she sits on death row.

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