Review of Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case that Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death by Kathy Cruz
Imagine being attacked in your own home, with your throat cut almost to the carotid artery. Two of your young children are stabbed to death. And you are the one the police charge and put on death row. That is the unbelievable situation in which Darlie Routier has found herself. While this case happened in Texas, a leader not only in executions but in wrongful convictions, this could happen to anyone anywhere. Our justice system is fraught with incompetence from the jurors whose only concern is getting a verdict so they can go home to judges who fall asleep during a capital murder case.
While I can’t personally right the wrong that has occurred here, I can call out the incompetent people that have led to this travesty. It starts with lead detective Jimmy Patterson, crime scene investigator James Cron, and investigator Chris Frosch. I’ll start with investigator James Cron. This guy thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes. Upon arriving at the crime scene he immediately decides that the scene has been staged. He doesn’t change his opinion when a bloody sock linked to the crime is found in an alley near the home. So not only is James “Sherlock” Cron a genius investigator, but Darlie Routier is a master criminal, smart enough to stage the scene at her home and then run outside to plant the bloody sock, certain that police would find it. Next we have detectives Jimmy Patterson and Chris Frosch. These guys need to look up the definition for tunnel vision, because they had it so bad they couldn’t see past their noses. Once they locked on to Darlie as their suspect, they did what all incompetent detectives do, they tried to fit the evidence to their theory. When it came time for trial, these two geniuses took the fifth. That’s right. The two lead detectives in a capital murder trial were so confident in their investigation that they refused to be cross examined. How does that happen?
Next we have prosecutors Greg Davis and Toby Shook. These two successfully took an innocent person and put her on death row. Congratulations! So what was the motive for such a heinous crime. According to Davis and Shook, the family was having financial trouble and each child had a $5,000 life insurance policy. What evidence did they present to the jury who took all of a couple of hours to sentence someone to death? They claim that Darlie’s wounds were self inflicted. Did I mention that Darlie’s throat was cut deep enough to barely miss the carotid artery. That she had defensive wounds and severe bruising on her arms. They had a video that showed Darlie spraying silly string at the kids grave sites. They had nurses who said that Darlie was “whiny” while in the hospital. Then they had some unchallenged evidence concerning a screen door being cut from the inside. That’s about it.
Then there is Judge Mark Tolle. This guy was about to retire. He wanted to go out on a strong note. He arranged (or at least allowed for it to happen) to have the trial moved to where he could be the presiding judge. Once he was in place for the trial of his career, he fell asleep for portions of the trial. He was assisted by a court reporter who submitted a trial transcript that had some thirty thousand errors.
Next we have defense attorney Douglas D. Mulder. Now here is a top notch attorney. He was hired to replace two court appointed attorneys. So what does Doug Mulder do when the family gives him $50,000 and only a few months to prepare for trial? He goes to Hawaii for vacation. He claims it allowed him to better prepare for trial. Yeah, right. How did that work out? So what were you doing during the trial? Thinking about how you were going to spend the rest of the money you got. How about objecting when the prosecutor makes the unsubstantiated claim that your client is a psychopath? How about asking for a mistrial when the lead detectives pleaded the fifth? How about cross examining the nurses with their contradictory statements? How about putting on a blood expert to challenge the state’s blood expert. How about challenging the states theory of the crime? How about the $250,000 life insurance policy on Darlie? How about showing the jurors what took place prior to the silly string video? How about putting on the stand the neighbors who saw a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood the day of the attacks? Before becoming a highly paid defense attorney, Mulder was a prosecutor. One of his accomplishments as a prosecutor was a wrongful conviction.
Next year Darlie Routier will have been on death row for twenty years for a crime she did not commit. Those involved in this wrongful conviction will fight to keep the truth from coming forward until Darlie is put to death. There is DNA evidence indicating a third, unknown person was involved. Unfortunately, the appeals judges are just rubber stampers who could care less about the truth. They are too busy playing golf to worry about an injustice like this. I hope I am wrong and that some appeal judge will take the time to actually look at the facts.
My only complaint about the book was that there were a number of leads that seemed to be under reported. The author talks about the nurses notes which contradicted their testimony, but didn’t provide the notes. She talks about Darin stating in an affidavit that he had called off a planned burglary, but doesn’t provide any background. She talks about Darin’s bloody jeans found in the laundry room, but explains no further. Those are pretty important facts to mention without more background.
As with all wrongful convictions, there will be those who support the original verdict. Perhaps they are related or friends of the police and those in the justice system that have failed so miserably. I hope they have the courage to speak up here. I’ll give you your forum. Just know that the facts don’t support your cause. For more on those facts go to http://darliefacts.com/. This case was also covered on CNN Death Row Stories Season Two.