Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case That Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death

Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case That Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death

Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case That Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death

Dateline Purgatory: Examining the Case That Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death


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."


Imperiled Justice
Exonerations Are Proof of Problems in Our Courtrooms

Before I was prosecuted in 1980 by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for a robbery and murder I did not commit, I, like many others, believed that only the guilty went to prison. I was so naïve—and so wrong.

Words cannot describe what it is like to have one’s freedom unjustly ripped from them by a justice system that we are told is the best in the world. Hundreds of exonerations—some for those who have served time on death row—have finally proven what people like me have known for a long, long time: our justice system is flawed.

I lost nine years, five months, and twenty-four days of freedom because Dallas prosecutors pursued me even though they knew I was not the Joyce Ann Brown responsible for the crime. I was blessed. Michael Morton served twenty-five years before he was finally exonerated and the man who prosecuted him held accountable. Because the state got it wrong, the true killer who took the life of Christine Morton is believed to have killed again.

What happened to me and to Michael Morton could happen to you—or to someone you love. I fear that it may have happened to Darlie Routier. I, and many others, have long been troubled by this case. the reasons are many. I always believed Routier’s case was so obviously egregious that surely someone would come to her aid, much like Centurion Ministries rescued me from a life behind bars. That has not yet happened—even though Dallas County created the first Conviction Integrity Unit in the nation.

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