Judge grants additional forensic testing for mom convicted of killing kids
For the 2nd time in five months, convicted child killer Darlie Lynn Routier has been granted the right to more forensic testing of evidence in her effort to prove that an intruder killed her 2 sons in 1996.
This month, a federal judge granted additional testing of a bloody sock; new forensic testing of a butcher knife presented in the original trial as the murder weapon, as well as new testing of fibers from another knife; and permission to run four fingerprints through a national database.
His decision, which was signed Nov. 5, piggybacks a state appeals court decision in June to allow her defense team to test some pubic and facial hairs.
"To have two separate courts say, 'Yes, you have valid claims,' obviously it's a big deal, especially for the fingerprints," said Stephen Cooper, one of Mrs. Routier's attorneys. "Everyone has said no [to checking the fingerprints]. We've been trying to get the fingerprints in the FBI database for comparison for 10 years now."
Mrs. Routier, 38, was sentenced to death for the stabbing death of her 5-year-old son, Damon. She also was charged with killing his older brother, Devon, who was 6, but she was not tried in that case. She has long contended that an unidentified intruder killed her boys and then stabbed her in the June 6, 1996, attack in Rowlett.
Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore said prosecutors are confident that Mrs. Routier's conviction and death sentence will stand.
"I'm not afraid of the testing," Ms. Moore said, adding that the defense has to prove there is consistent evidence of an unidentified person who might have been an intruder.
Mrs. Routier's appellate attorneys have been filing requests in both state and federal courts. In state courts, they have asked for post-conviction DNA testing, which was first allowed for Texas prisoners in 2001. On the federal side, her attorneys have asked for a writ of habeas corpus to fight her death penalty conviction.
Even while granting the most recent round of testing, U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson questioned how some of the items might prove Mrs. Routier's theory of an intruder attack, according to court records.
Even if another person's DNA is found on the bloody sock, that won't necessarily prove that there was an intruder who killed the children, Judge Furgeson wrote in his 18-page ruling.
Judge Furgeson also denied some requests, including testing on a blood-soaked night shirt that Mrs. Routier was wearing that night and a review of previous DNA tests.
(source: KHOU News)