Statement Analysis®

Did Darlie Routier kill her children?

On June 6, 1996, at 2:31 a.m., 911 dispatchers in Rowlett, Texas, received a call from the Darlie Routier. Routier told the operator her home had been broken into and an intruder had stabbed her six-year-old son Devon and five-year-old son Damon. Routier also had her throat cut.

After the police arrived at her residence, Routier told them she had fallen asleep on the couch with her two boys while watching television. She woke up and found an unknown man in her house. As she approached the man, he fled dropping a knife in the utility room. Routier picked up the knife and placed it on the kitchen counter. She then realized her children had been wounded and called 911.

Routier was charged with murdering her two boys. On February 1, 1997, Routier was convicted of murdering Damon and sentenced to death. As of 2021, she has not been tried for Damon’s murder.

Many people believe Routier is innocent and that she is a victim of a miscarriage of justice. Let’s see what Darlie Routier said happened that night. Here are some excerpts from her various statements.

Darlie’s 911 Call

When we listen to a 911 call, we are attempting to determine if the caller is an innocent witness or if the caller is the perpetrator. The first thing we look at is the "plea for help." What is the caller asking for? Most innocent callers will be asking for help. Darlie begins her 911 by saying, "Somebody came in here. They broke in. They just stabbed me and my children." She doesn't specifically ask for help. It can be implied that when people call 911, they are usually looking for help. However, most innocent callers will ask for help.

Darlie told the 911 operator that "Somebody came in here. They broke in. They just stabbed me and my children." Later she will say, "Some man came in." She went from talking about a single person, "somebody" to using the plural pronoun "they." She will then go back to talking about a single individual. Changing pronouns indicates deception. If the statement is coming from memory, people will be consistent in the pronouns they use. In today’s world, we have the "singular they." However, that is sometimes used when we do not know the sex of the person. Darlie knows the alleged attacker is a man.

During the 911 call, Darlie will make the statements, "They just stabbed me and my children." "They just stabbed me and my kids my little boys." There are no synonyms in Statement Analysis. Every word means something different. Truthful people will be consistent in their language. For example, if a person views a firearm as a "gun," he will always call it a "gun." He will not refer to it as "pistol" unless there is a justifiable reason for changing the language. Darlie referred to her two boys as "children" "kids" and "boys." There does not appear to be a justifiable reason for this change. This indicates she is being deceptive.

Twice Darlie said, "I don't even know (unintelligible)." The word "even" is not needed. Saying, "I don’t know" is the best statement. The word "even" indicates a contrast of ideas. It is possible she does know and is lying when she said she doesn't know. We don't know for sure why she used the word "even."

During the call, she said, "We got to find out who it was." She appears to be more concerned about finding the perpetrator than getting help for her kids.

She told the operator, "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." We have another unjustified change in language when she referred to her children as "babies." Notice she doesn't tell us whom she was fighting. We cannot believe she was fighting the intruder unless she specifically states that; "I was fighting him." She also doesn't say who threw the knife down. She didn’t say "He threw the knife down." The missing pronouns is an indication the man did not exist.

Darlie said, "His knife was laying over there and I already picked it up." She is probably explaining why her fingerprints are on the knife. This may also be a reason why the police will not find someone else’s fingerprints on the knife. Her prints are on top the intruder’s prints.

The other thing we see is that she said the "knife was laying over there." Technically speaking, knives are not capable of laying. Many people will say something like, "the knife was on the floor." I have found that when people give life to an inanimate object, it indicates deception about fifty percent of the time.

Darlie’s Written Statement to the Police

"Soon after the boys both fell asleep. Darin took the baby upstairs and put him in his crib and came back downstairs. We talked about a few problems we were having with the car and the boat and had a few words between us. Since I had the baby, I have been having some depression."

She said the boys "fell asleep." This will play a role in the next portion of her statement.

Darlie said she and her husband talked about a "a few problems" and "had a few words between us." She also said she was depressed. Does this have anything to do with the death of her two boys?

"After a while I started to get sleepy. The next thing I wake up and feel a pressure on me. I felt Damon press on my right shoulder and heard him cry, this made me really come awake and realized there was a man standing down at my fee walking away from me."

Unlike her boys, Darlie doesn't state she went to sleep. She only "started to get sleepy." We cannot believe she went to sleep unless she tells us she went to sleep.

The phrase "the next thing" indicates she has skipped over something in her story. She wants us to believe she was sleeping. However, she did not specifically state she went to sleep.

The verbs "wake" and "feel" are in the present tense. Since she is supposed to be describing a past event, the rules of grammar state she should be using the past tense verbs "woke" and "felt." The use of present tense language is an indication her story is not coming from memory.

"I ran back towards the utility room and realized there was a big white handled knife laying on the floor..."

She again gives life to the knife by saying it was laying on the floor. There is the possibility that because Darlie performed the action of placing the knife on the floor, this caused her to use the word "laying."

"Soon after the boys both fell asleep."
"The paramedics came and tried to work on the children."
"Darin was screaming 'Who did this, who did this' and I starting asking if my babies were dead."

She referred to her children using three different words which is an indication deception: "boys," "children" and "babies." It is possible there may be a justification for the change in language. Perhaps "boys" means they are okay. "Children" means they are injured and "babies" means they are deceased. The problem with this theory is that after telling her husband, "he cut them, he tried to kill me," she said her husband, "ran down the stairs and into the room where the boys were." Here she talked about them being injured and referred to them as "boys," The change in language appears to be unjustified and indicates deception.

Her written statement has a very short ending which is indicative of a deceptive statement.

Darlie’s Testimony at Her Trial

"And there was a man, that was down, going away from the couches, walking away from me. I started to get up and when I stood up, I heard noise like glass breaking. I started to walk towards the kitchen, Damon was behind me, and when I got to the kitchen, I put my hand back here for Damon to stay. And when I got to the kitchen, I could see the guy going into the utility room."

Darlie had a change in language from "man" to "guy." Truthful people will be consistent in their language. If they view the perpetrator as a "man," they will always call him a "man." They will not refer to him as a "guy" because to them, he is a "man." If a truthful person does change their language, there will be a justification for the change. I do not see a justification for Darlie changing her language.

Twice she used the word "started." The word "started" means there was a break in the action in which we do not know what Darlie was doing. Most people would say, "I got up and walked to the kitchen." Later she will testify, "I started to take a couple of steps into the kitchen, and I realized that the lights were off, so I turned back around, and I flipped the lights on real quick." Here she explains the break in the action. She turned around and turned the lights on. When talking about the intruder, she doesn’t account for the missing time.

"I saw a knife laying in the utility room. The knife wasn't completely the whole way in the utility room, it was just like, a little bit into the doorway of the utility room. It was an instinct. I picked up the knife, it was an instinct to pick up the knife. I didn't think about it. It was just an instinct. I picked up the knife, I brought the knife back to the kitchen counter, and set it up on the kitchen counter."

She again gave life to an inanimate object by saying, "I saw a knife laying in the utility room." It is possible this is part of her vernacular. Again, this only indicates deception about fifty percent of the time. There are a lot of people who might say, "The remote for the TV is lying on the coffee table."

Three times she said it was an "instinct" to pick up the knife. She is attempting to explain why her fingerprints were on the knife. In her third reference to it being an instinct, she used the word "just." This word is not needed and is often used to minimize things. It is an indication that maybe more was going on than what the person has told us. In this case, she is minimizing why she picked up the knife. Her use of the word "just" is an indication she may have picked up the knife not because of her instincts but because of another reason.

She said, "I picked up the knife. I brought the knife back to the kitchen counter." The word "back" means she returned the knife to the counter. The question is, did she pick up the knife from the counter, kill her kids, and then return the knife? Or, did she know the knife was on the counter and that the killer removed it from the counter and she later returned it to the counter? Most people would probably use the word "placed" — "I picked up the knife and placed it on the kitchen counter." Her use of the word "back" is a stronger indication she removed the knife from the counter.

When we look at Darlie’s 911 call, her written statement and testimony, we find enough deception in all three areas to conclude the jury got it right.

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