Murderous Moms: Did Silly String Send Darlie Routier to Death Row?

June 13, 2018
By: Mike McPadden

Rowlett Police Department

Rowlett Police Department

ROWLETT, TX — In the wee hours of June 6, 1995, 26-year-old mother-of-three Darlie Routier screamed in horror. Two of her three sons — Damon, age 5, and Devon, age 6 — had been stabbed to death.

Routier, too, had been knifed in the neck during a struggle, she said, with a home invader who subsequently fled into the night.

Eight days after the murders, though, a video emerged of Routier breaking out a can of Silly String. It proved to be an act that seemed, in some courts of popular opinion, to portray her as depraved enough to have savagely slaughtered her two children.

The Silly String incident occurred on what would have been Devon’s seventh birthday. The video depicts Routier and other family members visiting the dead boys’ adjacent graves, which are covered with balloons, and essentially having a party.

In addition, Routier is clearly seen on the tape laughing, joking, chewing gum, all of which leads up to her jubilantly spraying Silly String all over her sons’ final resting places.

Local news stations aired that home-video footage nonstop. Later, during Routier’s trial, the jury watched it in court no less than seven times.

Initially, police bought Routier’s story about an outsider attacking her family while her husband Darin and seven-month-old Drake, the couple’s third (and only surviving) child, slept upstairs.

On June 18, though, four days after the Silly String video scandalized seemingly all who saw it, officers arrested Darlie Routier and charged her with the murders of Damon and Devin. The authorities cited no witnesses, no motive, no confession, and, early on, no real evidence.

Darlie Routier mug shot [Rowlett Police Department]

Darlie Routier mug shot [Rowlett Police Department]

What everyone involved did keep citing, though, was that Silly String.

Chief among those blasting the video was Dallas County assistant district attorney Greg Davis, who later said:

“Here’s a mother who has supposedly been the victim of a violent crime. She has just lost two children, and yet she’s out literally dancing on their graves.”

An eight-month trial followed. Prosecutors portrayed Routier as a pampered hedonist who killed her kids over fears that they would be too much of a financial burden.

In addition, the state presented a letter from Routier addressed to her three sons in which she asked them to “forgive me for what I am about to do.” Routier said she wrote that while she was contemplating suicide.

Ultimately, the prosecution proposed that, after stabbing her boys, Darlie staged the break-in scene by cutting open a garage window screen, planting a bloody sock in an alley, and slashing her own throat.

Defense lawyers countered that any such theory was preposterous, noting that Darlie would have trailed blood all over had she attempted that fakery. They also kept pointing out her lack of motive.

The accused mom did not help her case, though, by taking the stand where, under cross-examination, she “withered” and ended up claiming she had amnesia. And of course, as noted, the Silly String video got played over and over again.

It all resulted in the jury proclaiming Routier guilty and sentencing her to death. Afterward, Darlie Kee, Routier’s mother, said: “They ended up deliberating on the Silly String. Silly String is not a lethal weapon.”

Darlie Routier 2016 mug shot [Rowlett Police Department]

Darlie Routier 2016 mug shot [Rowlett Police Department]

Darlie Routier has been incarcerated for more than 20 years now. She has never once stopped proclaiming her innocence.

Over the past two decades, Router’s attorneys have filed multiple appeals and won some rulings regarding DNA evidence. A growing movement to get a new trial continues to gain ground.

In regard to the Silly String video, in 2015, Routier told ABC News:

“[Devon] wanted to be seven. I did the only thing I knew to do to honor him and give him all his wishes because he wasn’t here anymore. But how do you know what you’re going to do when you lose two children? How do you know how you’re going to act?”

Those are questions perhaps only Routier herself can answer.

For more on the Darlie Routier case, watch the “Kill Their Own” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Women on ID GO now!

Next Up

Mother Who Claimed 7-Year-Old Daughter Was Sick Sentenced To Prison After Girl Dies

“This is a despicable crime,” prosecutor says of Kelly Renee Turner approving “surgery after surgery” for the child.

True Crime News Roundup: Prince Andrew Stripped Of Military Titles After Judge Allows Sex Abuse Case To Proceed

Plus: A Chicago mother is arrested in connection to the murder of her 6-year-old son; the convicted killer Robert Durst dies at age 78; Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ sentencing date is set; and an LGBTQ+ rights movement hero is found dead in a Florida landfill.

How The Abduction And Murder Of A 9-Year-Old Led To The AMBER Alert System

The AMBER alert system first debuted in 1996 as a collaboration between news media and police in Arlington, Texas. Named for Amber Hagerman, the alerts have helped find more than 1,000 abducted children.

True Crime News Roundup: 1964 Cold Case Rape And Murder Of 9-Year-Old Girl Solved, Police Say

Plus: Navarro Cheer star accepts plea deal; and Parkland killer claims he has multiple personalities.

True Crime News Roundup: Beauty Pageant Hopeful Vanishes After Flying To Las Vegas

Plus: Young boy’s body found in Nevada freezer; man accused of murdering, and Florida serial killer convicted of three murders.

Navajo Nation Girl Assaulted, Killed After Man Kidnapped Her While She Was Playing

Tom Begaye Jr. left the 11-year-old child to die in the desert after “repeatedly hitting her on the head and face with a tire iron.”

How West Memphis Three Case, Damien Echols Inspired ‘Stranger Things’ Character

The show’s executive producer says exploring 1980s “satanic panic” led to the creation of “true nerd at heart” Eddie Munson.

True Crime News Roundup: Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Victim Identified 45 Years After His Murder

Plus: Drug supplier pleads guilty to his role in Mac Miller’s overdose death; 3 children found living with brother’s skeletal remains; mother poses online as minor to ensnare sexual predators; and new details emerge in shooting on Alec Baldwin movie set.

FedEx Driver Charged With Murder After 7-Year-Old Went Missing From Outside Her Texas Home

On Nov. 30, 2022, Athena Strand went missing from her front yard. Two days later, her body was found and 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner was charged with her murder.

True Crime News Roundup: Alabama Corrections Officer Vanishes With Her Inmate Boyfriend

Plus: Dead Louisiana woman found fused to sofa; JonBenét Ramsey’s father seeks governor’s help with DNA testing; Australian man incarcerated for killing gay American in 1988; and Pennsylvania mother shoots her two boys in the head.