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The brutal murders of young Devon and Damon Routier in the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, put their mother—Darlie Routier—at the heart of one of the most notorious murder cases in modern Texas history—despite her own throat having been slashed to within two millimeters of her carotid artery.
The actions of a small-town police department and those within Dallas County's ruthless justice system created a perfect storm that swept up the young mother and landed her on death row. There she has remained, in a nine-feet-by-six-feet cell, despite claims of her innocence by those who know her, findings about the alarming fallibility of bloodstain analysis, and her husband's admission that at the time of the murders he was soliciting help to stage a home burglary to commit insurance fraud.
In Dateline Purgatory, award-winning journalist Kathy Cruz enlists current-day legal experts to weigh in on the shocking transgressions that resulted in one of the country's most controversial death penalty convictions.
With the help of the infamous death row inmate and a former FBI Special Agent known as “Crimefighter,” Cruz would find that her journey through Purgatory was as much about herself as it was about the woman dubbed “Dallas’s Susan Smith.”
In the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, an intruder entered the home of Darlie and Darin Routier. Darin was asleep upstairs with the couple's baby, Drake. Darlie slept in the family room downstairs with her older sons, Devon (6) and Damon (5). Around 2:30 a.m., Darlie placed a frantic phone call to 911, in which she repeatedly plead with the dispatcher to hurry with the ambulance, as her babies were dying in front of her. Darlie was attacked herself and lost a tremendous amount of blood from a slash to her neck, which came within 2mm of severing her carotid artery. She had many other defensive wounds. Darlie survived. Devon and Damon did not. Within 20 minutes of arriving on scene, the Rowlett Police Department's consultant concluded that the scene was staged, that there was no intruder, and that Darlie herself had killed her children and inflicted the wounds on herself. She was convicted solely on circumstantial evidence and character assassination. Evidence proves her innocence.