15 Years Later–Did Darlie Routier Kill Her Sons? (Part 4)
Reposted from ZeroGossip.com
Darlie Routier on Death Row–Guilty or Innocent? Prosecution Closing Arguments
Attorney Toby Shook with the prosecution
MR. TOBY SHOOK: Members of the jury. We have had a very long, and tedious trial on the issue of guilt or innocence. We have reached the close of that portion of this trial and now we’re having closing arguments. As the Judge has just told you the State will start out. I’m going to go over some of the evidence in this case, some of the things that we talked about on voir dire and Mr. Mosty and Mr. Mulder, I believe, will speak on behalf of the defendant, and then Mr. Davis will close for the State of Texas. The first thing I want to do is thank you for your service and your patience with us. We have come to this county, transferred here because of the publicity in this case, and we have imposed on you. We have taken you from your family, your homes, and your work and we have had you here a lot longer than we thought we would. That wasn’t planned in any way. You have been patient with us, you sat through hour after hour of testimony, questions from the lawyers rehashing the same issues and you sat back there during hearings. We know what we have done to you, and we appreciate your service. But I know that each and every one of you knows just how serious this offense is, and how important this case is. I want to talk a little bit about some of the things we talked about with each and every one of you on jury selection. Remember we talked to each and every one of you about probably 40 minutes, maybe a little longer, some a little less. We went over a lot of different areas. And remember, each and every one of you were chosen for this case. This isn’t like another criminal case where each side has several strikes and then they submit those strikes, and just the leftovers are put on the jury. Each side agreed on you as jurors because you are level-headed, and because we thought you had common sense. But I want to talk about some of those issues that we talked about on voir dire. Remember, I talked about motive or Miss Wallace talked to you about motive, and what we had to prove in this case. We had to prove that the defendant intentionally killed Damon Routier with a knife, and we had to prove that it happened in Dallas County. Now, I talked about motive because everyone wants to know a reason why the crime occurred. That is human nature. And I told you the reason may be very apparent. Sometimes it never comes out in court at all, and sometimes there might be several motives out there. Everyone might have their own version. You could have psychiatrists, psychologists, detectives argue all day long on all of the motives, but you may never know the real motive. But that doesn’t change the evidence. And the law does not require the State to prove the motive because we can not always get into the mind of the defendant. That motive may be locked away in there.
Each of you by now have your own idea what the motive is in this case, I don’t know. I’m going to talk about motive a little bit later. But it is not a requirement that the State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what the motive is, and each and every one of you agreed to that. Another issue we talked about was circumstantial evidence. When we try to prove a case we put on evidence, and there’s two kinds. You have an eye-witness to a crime, or you have circumstantial evidence.
Circumstantial evidence covers everything. Physical evidence left, statements made by the defendant, anything that connects the defendant to the offense is circumstantial evidence, and there is no difference between the two. It all connects. Inconsistencies, what they said, how it meshes with the physical evidence.
Now, I asked each and every one of you if we brought you a case using solely circumstantial evidence, could you find the defendant guilty if you believed that circumstantial evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and each of you said yes that you could. Now, the other area I want to get into is something that we maybe just said in passing or several times with each of you and that is the one thing you had to remember, the most valuable tool that you could use, and the reason you made it on this jury is common sense. When you review this evidence just use your God-given common sense. The common sense that has gotten you through life so far. That’s all you need to do. I think the first hurdle when you review this evidence anyone has to look at or anyone has to come to grips with is this: We have a brutal, vicious murder of a child, of two children and we have accused the mother of those children of this crime. And the first thought in anyone’s mind is, no mother could ever murder their children, it’s not possible. That is a natural reaction. But what you have to do is come to grips with reality, that there are certain people that are capable of anything under the right moment. That is why we have laws. That is why we have to have trials. And when a mother does kill her child, it causes a huge frenzy. That is why this courtroom is packed. That is why there is media out there in front of this Courthouse. That is why we had to come here. But these things do happen. And after you overcome or come to grips with that, then you begin to analyze this evidence using your common sense.
Now, I want to go through some of that evidence now. There is a whole lot. We have been here almost a month, there is no way anyone could remember or recall every aspect of it, but I want to touch on some of the high points of how I think this circumstantial evidence meshes. You see, circumstantial evidence comes in piece by piece. One piece may not mean anything if you just look at it by itself, but it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. As it comes in, you start sorting through it, and then you start putting it together. And when it’s all in, it all fits, and when it fits in this case you get the true picture of the killer, who sits right over here. Darlie Lynn Routier.
So let’s talk about some of that evidence. We all know now, that around 2:30 in the morning or so, back on June the 6th, there was a 911 call that came from the Routier home, came from Darlie Lynn Routier. And you know, as you look at this case, and what the State has to prove, the issue comes down to this: You know there is no question Damon was murdered. There is no question he was under the age of six. There is no question that it happened in Dallas County. We have alleged that he was murdered with a knife. I don’t think you have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out this was the knife. The blood is on it. It’s the size matching into the body and it’s left there. He was killed with a knife. The only issue is who did it? Identity. And it comes down to this: It’s either going to be some unknown intruder who came into that house and committed a horrible murder or it’s going to be the defendant.
You know that this 911 call came out. I think that gives you the first insight. You have heard that thing a dozen times, you have looked at transcripts from both sides. It gives you the true insight into the defendant, because first of all, and I think it’s quite clear she says: “My babies were stabbed, I was stabbed, I was fighting. He went into the garage. I was fighting.” That let’s you know that she knew what was going on there that night. She was well aware of everything that was going on. It also, towards the end of it you get that unusual statement: “I picked up the knife. Maybe we could have gotten some fingerprints.” And that gives you the insight into how her mind works, because that should be the fartherest (sic) thing from a mother’s mind in that situation. But she is already trying to cover her tracks, trying to point the evidence and the guilt away from her. Already at that point. Officer Waddell first arrived. You heard from William Gorsuch, a neighbor. He saw Officer Waddell as he came up and met Darin Routier and they went in that home. Officer Waddell went in, he talked briefly with the defendant. There is a lot of chaos going on in there. And Officer Waddell and Sergeant Walling, they didn’t have stop watches and weren’t timing where they were at one portion, and how long one conversation took place. Waddell told you that he was told quickly this person was in the garage. Now, he couldn’t go and check in that garage right away because his training told him this: There was only one of him, and if he goes in there and gets himself killed, then this family is still exposed. He has to wait on his back up. But he does know this: This woman is not putting pressure, not caring for Damon. Darin is over there with Devon and he asks her to. The entire time she is not caring for Damon. He has to watch the door, he can’t administer the aid, but we know the mother, she has one hand on her wound and the other hand has a phone. She is not putting the pressure on Damon.
We know that she tells him, “There was a fight over here at the island.” We know that Sergeant Walling came in and had a brief conversation with her, as she gives a description of a white male with a hat, and T-shirt and she says they fought on the couch. They put that description out, and that house is closed down quickly. The paramedics soon got to that location and you heard from them. They moved in quickly, they tried to do what they could. They only stayed in the one family room and cared for those children. They
didn’t run in the kitchen or into vacuum cleaners or anything like that. And they told you that, you know, they get Darlie out of there quickly. She is holding her neck, they start putting pressure on her neck. You remember the one whose nickname is Toad, I think his name is Koschak. He told you while he was in that room though that he heard the defendant say: “He has a ball cap on. He broke out the window.” They put her in the ambulance, there was really nothing they could do for Devon. They take Damon out to the ambulance, and they try to get him to the hospital. They put her in the ambulance and there was a paramedic named Byford who tended to her during that whole trip. She is quiet there in the ambulance, she is anxious, she wants to know, how long it’s going to take, “When are we going to get there?” But there are no questions about her children. No questions about their condition.
Of course, once she hits Baylor Hospital, when there’s a lot of nurses there, and you heard from Jody Fitts, the emergency room nurse. She starts yelling, and she is making noise. Now that she is in front of a lot of folks and they get her in there and they see the blood, and she is in there about 13 minutes and she is alert. The doctors come in, they take her upstairs to operate. And you heard from those doctors, Dr. Santos and Dr. Dillawn. Now those guys don’t regularly come down and testify. In fact, I think that is the first time they have testified. And they are not paid for their testimony. They owe no allegiance to the State, they owe no allegiance to the Rowlett Police Department. They are just doctors, surgeons, emergency room surgeons. And they have no reason to lie or be biased in this case. And what did they tell you? They told you that they looked at her wounds, it was in the zone 2 area which tells them this: They don’t want to take any chances, they are going to take her up and do some exploratory surgery. And they did that. And what did they find? Well, they found that the wound had cut across the neck through the skin to the platysma, but not into the platysma. Well, what does that mean? We asked them to explain it in just plain English. Cut through the skin, and cut through the fat and that’s all. A superficial wound. Not a serious injury. In fact, I think Dr. Santos said, if this had happened under different circumstances, if this has been a household accident, we would have sewn her up, and she would have been released in a few hours. But they were under the impression that she was a victim at that time. Her children had been killed. She didn’t need to go to the ICU, but they sent her there because they wanted to keep her away from the press, and they thought that she would be really going crazy because her children had been murdered.
Darlie Routier following surgery
Superficial wounds. There was also two wounds, a small one right here, and one to her forearm. They just sewed it up, nothing serious about that. Another wound right here, nothing serious about that. No wounds to her face, no wounds to her chest or back. You remember Dr. Santos told you that, of course, he checked on her. He deals with this situation all the time. People that have been seriously injured, eople that lose their relatives, I mean, that is part of his job. He said he was expecting her to go crazy. Mothers, many times when they lose their children, they don’t accept that fact. They want to know where they are. They won’t accept it when you tell them they are dead. But not this woman. She wasn’t of the demeanor he thought she would be. Flat affect is what he called it. Flat affect.
And the other things those doctors told you was this: That there weren’t any major trauma to her arm. This is blunt trauma, caused by — like what they see in accidents, or someone struck with a baseball bat. And it’s something they look for and they didn’t see it. They told you, you know, you can’t tell how old a bruise is exactly but this looks like a pretty recent bruise. Twenty-four to 48 hours. If she had received the type of trauma that would cause a bruise like this on the 6th, they would have seen it within a few hours. They would have seen it begin forming. They didn’t see it, folks. It didn’t happen then.
You see, Darlie Lynn Routier soon realized that people weren’t probably buying into her story, and she had to increase those injuries. And I know it seems almost diabolical, but the evidence shows she went home and caused those injuries to herself after she was out of that hospital.
You also heard from the nurses in this case. The first one you heard from, after Jody Fitts was Chris Wielgosz. Remember, he was the nurse who handles people when they come out of an operating room, and usually he handles heart patients, but because of the overflow, he got the defendant. And she is not the typical patient he usually gets, because they are usually unconscious and need a lot of care, but her injuries did not need a lot of care. And she was alert and awake. He told you sometimes people are real groggy when they come out of an operation and sometimes they are awake, and she was awake. And he is just sitting there with her and she starts making these unsolicited comments like: “Gee, I wish I hadn’t touched the knife. I might have messed up the fingerprints.” He is not even asking her about the offense, but she has to volunteer. See, she has to get this story going, she has to get the people to believe that she is the victim in this case. What did he tell you? And, he has no motive to lie. He is not paid for his testimony. He doesn’t come down here and testify. What does he tell you? He says, “Well, I gave her a little bit of Demerol, it didn’t seem to affect her, and then the detectives came and spoke to her.” And he told you how the detectives questioned her. They didn’t suggest answers to her. They went real slow and methodically, and she told them what she remembered. And she told them that she remembered the man standing over her and fighting him off the couch. They didn’t tell her that is what happened. Those were her words. You see, she hadn’t come up with the complete amnesia defense yet. And he told you she knew details all about her rings, and ring sizes, and carats and descriptions of that, but it was real hazy and couldn’t give a description of his face. And it was real slow and methodical.
You also heard from the other nurse, Jody Cotner, who is the trauma coordinator. Remember she had the longer brown hair. She had been there 11 years. One of her jobs is to work with people, to inform people that their loved one has died. She has had to do that hundreds of times. She has had to deal with mothers that lose their children, and what did she tell you? There is nothing like it. The bond between a mother and a child. A grief that is inconsolable. They do it in different ways, but they all show it. And she never saw that reaction from this woman. Never saw the reaction she has always seen before.
The same with the other nurses who deal with this stuff every day. They have never seen a reaction like that. It was more of a whining, no real tears, I think you-all know what they are talking about now, now that all of the evidence is in. They have no motive to lie, but what did they tell you? All day long, during their shifts, what happened? The first one I believe was Dianne Hollon, had her all during the day. “I woke up, a man was standing over me, I yelled and he ran off.” They didn’t suggest those answers to her, that was her
version. And we had Paige Campbell, the little blonde girl who helped bathe her at one point in time. The defendant showed her her hand, “This is where he cut me when I grabbed the knife. He was standing over me when I woke up and tried to stab me.”
You heard from Denise Faulk, the last nurse that had her all night long. About 3:00 in the morning she took the time to write those notes down the next day or so. About two and a half pages on pink paper and the defendant — she didn’t come up with this story, the defendant did: “I was laying just like this.” On her right side. “When I woke up, when Damon woke up. And there was a man wrestling at my neck area.” Denise Faulk isn’t telling her to say that. This is her version. “And I yelled out, and he ran off, and I heard glass break. I picked up the knife. He was wrestling at my neck area.” She didn’t realize at that time that people weren’t going to buy this. If you are fighting with a man face to face, you are going to remember his face. She had not come up with her temporary amnesia yet. These nurses have no reason to lie.
Let’s talk a minute then about the physical evidence. You heard from retired Sheriff’s Lieutenant James Cron. He has been in law enforcement for 39 years. He has been to hundreds — thousands of crime scenes. He knows his business. He had worked with the Rowlett Police Department which is a small department. I mean, it is a suburb of Dallas, but really it’s a small town in and of itself. And they called him out there and he made it out there at 6:00 in the morning. They had already sealed that house off. The police had not been running through there except for the officers when they first arrived. They sealed that house off and he went in with them, and he did a walk through, and he saw the photographs and he looked at the evidence. And it didn’t take him long to start figuring out, after he got the story of what supposedly happened, that the physical evidence isn’t matching up. What are the things he looked at? The window itself where this intruder should have gone through. It’s cut. Then Cron tells you, “Well, the first thing about that is, that is not how intruders get in homes. They just take the screen off. They cut a little slit and take it off. They don’t make this big slash.” The other thing about it, this man is supposed to be coming in and going out, but there’s dust on that windowsill and it’s not disturbed. He has also been told that there was some type of struggle. There’s dead children that have been stabbed many times. A woman who is supposed to — supposedly has had her throat slashed, he should expect to see some blood on the intruder’s hands. There is nothing there. There is nothing disturbed. There is no blood in the garage that he can see. There is no blood outside. That gate is closed, and you can’t get that gate open because it drags on the cement. You have to lift it up. But somehow this intruder, if he went out that gate, shut it behind him. And that doesn’t make sense to Lieutenant Cron. What else didn’t make sense to him?Well, the inside of the house itself. There’s supposed to be some violent struggle, but it didn’t look like a whole lot of violence, where two people are dead in there and one woman is wounded. But not — it’s not all torn up. He didn’t see tears in the couch where a knife was being thrown around. It just wasn’t making sense to him. Then he looked at this, and he was there when it was picked up. This vacuum cleaner, because it is just lying right there in the kitchen floor close to the sink. Now, Officer Waddell and Walling didn’t see this. Of course, they are not looking for all of the evidence, they are on a walk through when they are there. They are moving very quickly looking for an intruder, and this is off to the side of the sink and they are not standing by there, so, no, they don’t remember it back then.
But it’s right there, and you don’t have any evidence of officers having to move it over there or paramedics having to move it over there. And they notice that there are some bloody footprints. Bloody footprints leading away from the sink. And when they pick this up, bloody footprints are under it. Well, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out, that this vacuum cleaner was dumped down on top of those bloody footprints after it was moved. But why? If the defendant did it, it’s because it’s staging. You need to show some type of struggle occurred, something like that. But what else didn’t make sense to Mr. Cron? The wine glass. Supposedly ran into this — this intruder ran into this wine rack somehow and broke a glass. Well, there’s glass on top of the bloody footprints, and the officer said they were careful not to step on blood, and not to step on glass. The trouble is he checked that wine rack and it was real sturdy, and the wine glass had been hooked up inside, hanging upside down. And there were more delicate items lying on that wine rack that were not broken and not moved, and that didn’t make sense to him. Of course, all he had to do to get that wine glass out, is reach up and hit it and it will come out, and it will hit the floor or it will hit the wine rack and it will break. That is another indication that something wasn’t adding up to him with this story that he had been told. Another thing that didn’t make sense is the hand print. You will recall, they cut it out. It was Damon’s hand print. It was a small palm print there on the couch. Actually, I think it was right in this area here. They cut it out, the blood came back to Damon, and you could see his little hand there. The trouble is they didn’t find that until after they pulled the blanket up. You see that blanket had to be placed there after he had walked through there. We can tell from the DNA that Damon moved some after he was stabbed. He sat down, probably, you can see where the imprint of his pants were, and he moved through here, and then, of course, wound up over here. All this was not adding up to Cron. Now, there were fingerprints found on that windowsill, and Cron told you how fingerprints get there, you know. People with their oil will leave a print. Most of the time you don’t have a print you can get. Officer Hamilton told you he got lots of prints, but most of them he couldn’t match up. When you touch something, it would just smear. It doesn’t mean anyone touched it. Cron can’t tell you how long that print was there or when it was put there. He can tell you, “Well, from looking at it though, it could have been a small child.” Which would not be unusual. You remember the question Mr. Davis asked Darin: “Didn’t your children go through that window to get popsicles?” “Well, yeah, my neighbor told me they did that, but I was not aware of it at the time.” And you can tell where that screen is bent, where children could have pried it open and just go in. Because, see, it’s no big deal to remove that screen. There is a replica of that window back there with the screen in it. And another thing about that. Remember the screen, you can see in the photographs, it’s folded in, which is not consistent with someone coming out. And Detective Frosch went through that window very carefully. That is the only way you can make it through there, the way it was blocked off, one window frame from the other. You have a small area to get through, and if you are not going to knock that window screen off, you have to do it extremely slowly and carefully, which is totally inconsistent with what an intruder would do.
But you can take that window back there if you want, and you can try to go through it fast. And I guarantee you, if you go through it fast, that screen will come off. All you have to do is stick your thumbs down on that screen and flip them, and that screen will come off. But Darlie Routier didn’t know that, you see. She thought that you had to cut the screen to make it look like someone came in and out. She didn’t have to do that. It comes right off. It’s not like Fort Knox. Screens come off easily, that screen comes off easily.
You heard from Charles Linch who has worked at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences for, I think, about 16 years. He is what they call a trace analyst. He looks at things that are left behind. He looks at things through a microscope. He went out there that day. He called, he had heard about it, they brought the boys’ body in, at the same time Cron is telling Rowlett, you need to get Linch out here. He is good. Linch found a hair in that window frame. A blond hair. He told you what they do. They look at them and they try to look at pigment patterns, and when he looked at it through his microscope that hair matched the same pigment patterns as the defendant. The trouble was it was bleached hair, which he said is the hardest type to match up. And what do they do next? They take the next step and they submit it to a DNA lab and it turns out to be one of the Rowlett police officers’ hair. But he found some other evidence because the police confiscated these knives. In those knives was a bread knife, and he looked at those under the microscope, and he found a glass rod and he found some rubber material and some rubber debris with glass crushed in it and that wasn’t on any of the other knives. And he had one of the screens from the garage, and he quickly found that that screen was composed of fiberglass rods with plastic covering over it. And he found that if he used that bread knife and you cut it all the way across, that that screen was cut with a serrated knife, and could be cut in the same fashion with that particular bread knife. And when he tested cutting that bread knife, he looked at it under the microscope and what did he find? Glass rods, the same type of rubber material seen on the bread knife. And that same type of rubber debris with the glass meshed in. The same type of stuff that happens when you cut the screen. And it adds up, that bread knife was used to cut that screen, and Charles Linch found the evidence. And that tells you they were trying to fake the crime scene. You aren’t going to have an intruder somehow get in the house and then take the knife out and then cut the window. Charles Linch also looked at that shirt and saw there were some holes in the shoulder, saw there were some bloody smudges where you could have held that shirt up, where someone might have been testing that shirt, but there is no corresponding injuries to her shoulder. Charles Linch talked about — he looked at other things that might leave that fiberglass, like Officer Hamilton’s fiberglass fingerprint brush. Different size. That fiberglass on the brush was a different size, not the same size as was found on the bread knife. He also said that he looked at computer boards because you know the Routiers worked with computer boards. It looked different. The material left from the fiberglass on a computer board is different from what was left when you cut it with that bread knife, the screen with the bread knife.
Then you heard from Tom Bevel who was from Oklahoma City. He has been a very qualified police officer, retired now and is in private practice and he is a blood expert. And he told you some interesting things. First of all, by looking at the photographs, you remember the defendant’s testimony is that this man ran off with a knife and dropped it in the utility room. Not on the carpet by the utility room, but dropped it in the utility room and she picked it up. The problem is, when you drop that knife, it leaves a mark, it leaves cast off. And you don’t see any cast off or any mark left in that utility room, or anywhere else in that kitchen. She says that he ran through there, but the blood shows the drops came very slowly. That let’s you know that she is lying about that. You know that knife leaves blood wherever it sits down. You can see when it was lifted off of that counter, there are traces of blood where that knife was left. That knife was not dropped on the utility room floor. She never picked it up.
THE COURT: You have used 30 minutes, Mr. Shook.
MR. TOBY SHOOK: Thank you, Judge.
He also told you that on this vacuum cleaner, there was blood transferred on the handle. That is her blood. There was blood dropped on that while she was standing up, that is her blood, and there is blood deposited on it after it’s laying down. That is her blood. That let’s you know she had it, and there was —they had impressions of the wheels, that it’s been rolled around. She was on top of it when it was standing, and she was walking around it when it was close. That let’s you know what? She is staging this thing. He also told you that there was a blood impression of a knife in the carpet. Remember that? And the DNA impressions taken of that impression of the knife in the carpet showed her blood, and I believe it was Damon’s. Well, what does that tell you? Well, it is inconsistent with her story. If she is cut by some intruder, why would he be going and laying the knife down and then picking it up and walking off. It shows that she was walking around, and she placed that knife down. He also told you about cast off. How blood can be deposited, and he looked at that shirt carefully. A lot of blood. Mostly her blood on that shirt. But this particular spot right here (Indicating on shirt exhibit), came back to Devon, it’s right here. And he can tell you from his training that that is cast off. Cast off is blood that comes off an instrument such as a knife. He also found blood from Devon and Damon on the front, which he said is also consistent with cast off, and her blood is found there too. And it could happen two ways: It’s either mixed, it comes off at the same time and lands there on the front, or it first could be deposited when she is stabbing the children and then later on as she cuts herself it could be deposited in the same area. Or, it could happen together. But this spot on the back is Devon’s, and Devon’s alone. And it doesn’t get there when you fold a shirt up. He said he could tell that. It’s cast off. And the defense asked him all types of questions of how that could happen, but the most consistent way it could happen is when the stabbing motion comes up and the knife is over the shoulder. He simulated it in tests and found the same size of the spot on his own T-shirt. That tells you that she was stabbing, and Devon’s blood winds up on her back. It’s not going to wind up there if she is laying on the couch as the man wrestles at her neck.
You heard from Special Agent Brantley who is with the FBI. He works for the Behavioral Science Center, former prison psychologist, and he looks at these things, hundreds of these cases every year, and he kind of told you how they do the analysis. What is wrong with this picture? And in his opinion, this crime scene was staged. These boys were killed by someone they knew. And, of course, once he explains it, it makes sense because it is all common sense stuff, except to the average lay person. We don’t deal with murders, fortunately, every day. We don’t look at this stuff. They look at what’s wrong with this picture. Low crime area in this neighborhood. No murders happening all the time. No easy access getting in. And then he looked at what you call risk factors. What would a person be worried about if they were going to commit this offense? That is a well lighted house. A truck is out front. There is someone home because the TV is on. You don’t want those people to hear you as you come in. You don’t cut the screen on the window. They are usually just removed. There is a big cage right there that let’s you know that there is some animal running around. They don’t like animals, these intruders, to let you know they are in the house. In fact, there was a dog in that house who could sound an alarm. Then he went inside the house. Obviously there was no intent to rob because all of these possessions are left untouched. It’s not an attempt for rape because the rapist doesn’t kill the children right away. They use them as tools. No, from the wounds on these boys he could say they were the target of this offense. They were killed in anger. It was a personal attack. These are devastating wounds.
And they are low risk victims. There was no reason for anyone to want to kill these children. They had no enemies. And then the great contrast is the wounds to herself. She is not stabbed in the trunk. There is not penetrating wounds. There’s a wound to her arm and a slice along the skin and the fat of her neck. That tells him a lot. It is inconsistent. And what else? Well, you have got the vacuum cleaner laying there. That looked staged to him. You have got the bread knife, with the glass rods that tells you, well, that just doesn’t happen. Someone doesn’t just go in the house and cut the screen and come back out. But if you take that out of this scenario, it’s still inconsistent, because if somebody is going to cut that screen, then doesn’t bring — gets the knife from the home itself. You bring your own weapon when you are intent on homicide. And then after you kill these boys, and wound the adult, you don’t leave a live witness. It makes no sense. Someone that can identify you. Not only do you not leave them, you don’t arm them with the very knife. You don’t leave them alive to sound the alarm. That doesn’t make sense to him. And that sock, it’s more like it was just put away to get away from it, because there is only the boys’ blood found on that sock, and not her blood. And if some killer was in there with that sock on his hand, stabbing those boys and slashing her, and in a struggle, don’t you know that her blood would be on that sock, but it’s not. And then the strangest thing about it was, of course, this crime scene where this horrible crime occurred, there is not a lot of property damage. There is no big struggle there. I think the way he termed it “maximum human devastation, minimum property damage.” As if the intruder or killer wanted to be careful with all of those dainty little things that were in that house.
You heard from Barbara Jovell, who was this woman’s maid of honor, who has known this woman almost 10 years, who had worked every day, there at their work place, their one employee, their one full time employee. Her mother was over at the house that week cleaning for her, a close friend. And she has no motive to lie. And what did she tell you? It took a lot of guts to get up there and she told you some facts about the defendant. She loves the defendant. And a few years ago she was a very different person. But their business took off and her attitude started changing. She started thinking about money, and became more self-centered. She started buying the jewelry. You know she wears the 10 rings on every finger, all the rings and earrings. She started becoming more self-centered, shopping all the time. Decorating, buying boats, they bought a spa, they bought new cars, and she is the dominant personality. And everything was going fine, except when business suddenly tailored off, and it was a real slow period and money got real tight, and they can argue all they want that it’s not tight, folks, but you’ve got the evidence, how — how much they were out that year. I mean, they are down in the money and it’s not coming in. You have got bills, mortgage payments, two payments behind in May. You have got letters like that. The money had run out and she didn’t like it, and she said that Darlie would come up to work and be mad, and she was mad over money, and they argued all the time, and she told Darin, “This is not the Darlie we know. You need to get help for her.” And this was in March. And then in May, when she came back from her vacation, she heard about the suicide attempt and talked to Darlie and pleaded with her to get help, but she didn’t. She didn’t. And Barbara Jovell told you also when she was at that hospital and Darlie told her, “That man was standing over me, he tried to stab me, and I blocked that blow.” She didn’t tell her to say that, but that is what she told you. She told you she told her another version later on at the house, at her mother’s house. That she woke up and the man had the knife, and was enjoying her face, scraping the knife on her face, but she just couldn’t remember his face. She came and told you the truth. And you do know there was some type of suicide attempt from the diary entry and the defendant. Well, of course, her
version was, “I was just kind of moody that day.” Well, it lets you know what? You know, I don’t think the defendant was going to kill herself. I think she loves herself too much. But did she want attention? Maybe.
Were things not going right in her life? No. The money train had stopped and things weren’t going right. One month before this killing she is making an entry where she is saying she is going to kill herself. Things are not going right in her life. They are not going her way. You have a tape taken by the grave site about eight days after this offense. It’s been called the Silly String tape. And I think it gives you a lot of insight into this woman. You see, this is not a picture of a grieving mother, and I don’t care how many excuses you can come up with, and how many doctors you can bring in here and say this is some type of Christian ceremony, or she was on some Xanax or people were giving her valiums, no. You can see how she is acting. She is enjoying herself out there. I mean, it’s more of a — she is having fun. She likes the attention. She tries to cry on that tape, but she can’t. Those tears don’t come. And she tells you on that tape, “He went for them first, then he tried to come to me, but he went to them first.” She is enjoying it, and it gives you insight into her true character of what is going on. And it’s scary.
And you have the voluntary statement that she gave the police on the 8th, and what is important is what she left out, you see, because she didn’t know what the evidence would show. She didn’t know that there was blood evidence that shows she was standing over this, and showing that she moved this vacuum cleaner around. So she didn’t mention the vacuum cleaner in that voluntary statement. She mentions a lot of other things. She didn’t know that it looked like there was clean up area at the sink, so then she has to come up later with the wet towel scenario, which makes no sense at all. Wet towels are not going to do those children any good. But she has to come up with an excuse. She talks about in that voluntary statement that she looks over and sees Darin doing CPR on Devon, but she doesn’t put herself over there because at that time, she didn’t know that Devon’s blood was deposited on her back and she needed to put herself over there.
And another thing that is important. Do you remember when Darin testified? He said, “You know, I woke up because I heard glass break, and I immediately heard Devon yell — heard her yell ‘Devon.’ Glass breaks, she yells Devon, I get up.” Her version is a contradiction to that. Glass broke, I walked into the kitchen, I picked up and found a knife, I walked back over, I turned on the lights, I saw Devon and that is when I yelled “Devon.” A contradiction there. Key contradiction. You see, Darin is not going to wake up
until she wants him to wake up. When she is making that glass noise, so he can come downstairs and see what’s happened. Before that she set this whole thing up, folks, she was thinking about it. She had to be downstairs sleeping because if she is in bed with him, she can’t pull this off. She has to have those boys in the room.
I still don’t understand this excuse, “Well, they wake up in the middle of the night.” She had to have them down there, so she could have access to them. She couldn’t kill them in their beds. She had to have that window up, so she could cut that screen and make it look like an entry, because it couldn’t be a noisy entry or Darin would wake up on that. She had to have that TV on, so maybe some sounds might be muffled. She killed those boys and then she faked that scene. She probably used that sock in some way, maybe to hopefully keep her prints off the knife, saw blood, wanted to get rid of it. It wouldn’t take her a long time to go out in the back yard, cut that screen and knock over a piece of furniture and go three houses down and try to get rid of that thing. Come back in, and cut yourself probably saw Damon moving. We don’t know for sure, she may have finished him off after she found him moving. Then she cuts herself and bleeds, and she breaks the glass. She has got to move that vacuum cleaner around. She doesn’t realize what she is doing, that she is covering up her tracks and then leaving evidence of staging. And then she yells for her husband. And then we have that scenario coming out.
And finally we have the amnesia defense. What a lucky killer this is. He goes in and brutally murders two children, wounds their mother, is face to face, cutting her throat, beating her, and yet decides to leave her alive, the one woman that could identify him, that could put him on death row, and lucky for him, she gets amnesia. She is not going to be able to remember his face. He is one lucky killer. Well, that doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t pass the common sense test, and neither does how this scenario could have happened, because I don’t think any of you believe, for one second, that woman could sleep through her children being murdered. One foot away is Devon. About four or five feet — I’m sorry, four or five feet away is Devon. And one foot away is Damon, and no mother who cares anything about her children is going to sleep through that attack. And when she wakes up, she is going to be screaming her head off for her husband. She is going to be attacking that intruder. That room would be a shambles. That dog would be barking and Darin would be coming down. Or you can look at it the other way, maybe she is attacked first. Well, she is going wake up when she is beaten, or when her throat is cut, and she is going to be screaming then also. And we will have this same scenario, but that didn’t happen. She murdered those children. And what — why would an intruder, someone so bent on homicide, that he would cause those penetrating — he almost impaled the children, if this was an intruder, stabbing through those bodies. Why would he then leave her alive? This intruder would have been on her, and if her story was true, she wouldn’t be here today. If she had had that knife stuck in her, she would be dead lying on that couch, if her story were true.
And if you go, you know, what was the motive? I mean, she comes across and: “My panties were gone.” This whole murder is over her panties, I guess. The guy took a sock, he leaves the knife, but he takes her panties. If you are going to have amnesia, it should be consistent amnesia. That is on the 911 tape, they have got to have an excuse for everything. “I was frightening” — that is their version, “I was frightening,” that is not even a word. No, she said she was fighting, and that lets you know that she knows what is going on. If you are going to have amnesia, it should be consistent. You don’t say on that tape by the grave site, “He went for them first, then he tried to come to me, but he went to them first.” You don’t say that. You don’t make statements to the detectives down there, he came after me, and I fought him on the couch. You don’t tell nurse after nurse, the man was standing over me, if you have amnesia. You see, her relatives came in and said, no, Darlie, at the hospital, just said she woke up, and the man was walking away. You see, that is inconsistent, because at the same time she is supposedly telling them that, she is telling the nurses, that the man was standing over me. And they have no reason to lie. You see, they might be more believable if they said, “You know, we suggested that some man was standing over her. We told her that. She is just trying to believe it.”
THE COURT: You have used 45 minutes, Mr. Shook.
MR. TOBY SHOOK: Thank you, Judge.
And isn’t it funny how her amnesia goes in and out. Nothing about the attack, plenty about when the paramedics are there, caring for her children, as her children are dying, because she has got to put herself in certain places to get an explanation for this evidence. She has got to put herself, all of a sudden, this is a cane for some reason, and that is why the blood is there, this is a cane that I’m using. I am using wet rags, you know. I’m using wet rags, that is my excuse for that one. “Well, why do you have a wet rag?” “Oh, I don’t know, I just panicked.” Of course, she was not about to put any pressure on her son. She had it on her neck. She was not about to do that. She didn’t want Damon to live. Oh, I was running over and helping Darin. Of course, that is the first time that has come out, because she has got to get that blood on his back. It’s got to be consistent amnesia. But then, when you have these statements to the nurses about, “Yeah, there was a man standing over me with a knife.” Boy, that amnesia turns on again, doesn’t it? I don’t remember much about the hospital. I don’t remember telling them that. It just goes in and out when she needs it. And then, you have the defendant’s testimony, and you got to see her demeanor, how she testified, how she is. She was up there for four hours. One of the parts, I think it was when Mr. Mulder had her, it was so telling, it might be something small, but I think it’s so telling, because she said, “I didn’t kill those children.” Not her children, “I didn’t kill those children.” She had to have an explanation for everything, and she tried to cry, she tried to cry when she was on direct, and just like she tried to cry at the grave site, but those tears weren’t streaming down her face. Those tears didn’t start up until she got caught in a lie.
Now, we heard about this Glenn guy, “Yeah, I told the police about that.” Well then we brought Glenn in, and she was surprised. And, “Yeah, that is Glenn.” We got that out of her finally, but no, he doesn’t match the description in any way. He is not the killer. Darin is not the killer and Glenn is not the killer. Then we bring out the letters. This is the woman that is suppose to not remember anything about this incident. Then she is confronted with her letters, one of them written — a couple of them written November 1st, 1996. “I saw him. I know he did it. I saw him.” Another letter to her friend Karen, “Glenn did it. I know who did it.” Another letter to a person named Joe and Terry, a long description. “This man matches the description.” And goes into quite detail. “Broad back, wide around the middle, big arms, long hair, and he lives right down the street, and the sock was on the way to his house. He could see me from his balcony.” There is no balcony that you can see from her backyard. You saw her try to explain that. That house is 12 — over 15 houses away. Her hot tub is covered. She is making that up. Because see, she is suppose to have amnesia, but she got caught. She got caught in a lie. She is telling people, “I saw him,” she was probably desperate to try to pin this on someone else back then, and that didn’t work. And she got caught in a lie. It is supposed to be consistent. And that is when you finally see the real tears. Those tears started rolling down, that voice started shaking, those hands started shaking. Those were the real tears. Those are the tears that the paramedics and the nurses should have seen, when she is supposedly grieving for the boys. Those are the tears that we should have seen on that videotape, out at that grave site, when they were interviewing them. Those are the type of tears that you should have seen back then. Real tears. But you didn’t see those tears, because she wasn’t crying for those boys. Those boys are nothing to her more than, like those pieces of jewelry left up on that counter. Those tears were for herself, because she realized that you knew the true then. That she does know what went on in that house. That she does have a memory. She knows that you know she is the killer.
Now, Devon and Damon didn’t die instantly. They had lethal wounds, but they didn’t die instantly. We know that. They are capable of making noises, their eyes were open when that knife went in. They were awakened. We know that little Damon, he moved. I don’t know where he was trying to go, he didn’t get far, but he moved. And that is the most horrible aspect of this case. That is the most frightening part of this case. It’s the part of this case that I think will haunt all of us, for the rest of your lives. It’s the part of this case where you will wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the 24 morning, and it will chill your blood. Because, you see Damon was awake. He came awake and he tried to walk. He opened his eyes, and he saw who was murdering him. He saw her. He saw his mother.
In Part 5–The Defense Closing Arguments