A housewife accused of fatally stabbing two of her sons and then slashing her throat to make it look like an attack by an intruder was sentenced to death Tuesday.
A jury took four hours to decide the fate of 27-year-old Darlie Routier, who prosecutors said killed in frustration over financial problems and the burdens of motherhood. The jury could have given her life in prison.
She was convicted Saturday of murder in the June 6 slaying of her 5-year-old son, Damon. She is also charged with murdering the boy’s older brother, 6-year-old Devon, but prosecutors decided to try the cases separately.
Defense attorneys said they had prepared her for the jury’s decision.
“I said, ‘Darlie, there’s no chance they’re going to do anything but give you death,”’ Richard Mosty said. “But this is the first step in a long battle.”
Darlie Routier, who also has an infant son, had claimed that an intruder attacked her and her boys in the family’s home in Rowlett, 20 miles east of Dallas, and then fled through the garage. Her husband said he was upstairs at the time and did not see or hear an intruder.
Prosecutors said she staged the attack.
Routier was stone-faced upon hearing the verdict. She becomes the seventh woman on death row in Texas, which has not executed a woman since 1863. The trial was moved to Kerrville because of pretrial publicity.
Prosecutor Toby Shook said he wasn’t surprised by Routier’s impassive response.
“She’s not going to give the satisfaction of showing a reaction. I don’t think it even got her heart rate up,” Shook said.
Routier’s lawyers had pleaded with the jury for a life sentence, arguing she might one day be proved innocent. “I suspect every one of you - every one of you - will wake up some night saying ‘What if?”’ Mosty said.
Prosecutor Sherri Wallace asked the jury not to soften the punishment because she’s a woman.
“Are you not going to kill her because she’s a woman? Does that make those kids one bit less dead?” Wallace said. “A life sentence isn’t going to work for her, people. She doesn’t have any guilt. … She looks like us, she looks like a human being. She’s not one bit like us.”
“You don’t want to believe that a mother killed her children. You fight in yourself to say it’s not so.”
As jurors deliberated, Routier peeked out the second-floor window of her holding cell, waved and called to her husband, Darin Routier, outside.
At one point, Routier mouthed to his wife, “I’ll see you in heaven.”