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Friday, June 12, 1998
Polygraph test puts Darlie Routier's husband
back under suspicion
By C. BRYSON HULL / Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) -- When the relatives of death-row inmate Darlie
Routier asked a Texas millionaire to help exonerate the suburban
homemaker of killing her young sons, he was happy to help.
But now that Brian Pardo's privately funded investigation has
put Mrs. Routier's husband, Darin, under suspicion, both their
families wish Pardo would forget they asked.
"I agreed I'd look into it with one proviso: that if I
look into the case, I'd seek truth and justice wherever it leads,"
said Pardo, a semi-retired Waco insurance executive and former
The surreal Routier saga returned to the front pages again
last weekend when Pardo made public the results of a polygraph
exam given to Darin Routier in an attempt to rule him out as a
suspect. It did just the opposite.
Routier, 30, was given the same test three times on May 22,
Pardo said. Each time, Routier gave deceptive answers to four
questions about his knowledge of the crime, according to a polygraph
examiner hired by Pardo.
"Darin is a very significant suspect in this crime,"
Pardo said, noting that "he had means, opportunity and motive."
Prosecutors say that's no news to them. Proving it is another
"There always has been suspicion as to Darin Routier's
knowledge or involvement, but so far we have not had enough to
go forward for an indictment or anything like that," said
Toby Shook, a Dallas County assistant district attorney who helped
prosecute the case.
Routier says he was asleep upstairs with the couple's youngest
son when his wife was stabbed and their two older boys were slain
early June 6, 1996, at the family's home in Rowlett, 20 miles
east of Dallas.
Mrs. Routier said she was asleep on a downstairs sofa when
an unknown attacker stabbed her and fatally stabbed 5-year-old
Damon and 6-year-old Devon.
In February 1997, authorities successfully argued there was
no attacker, that Mrs. Routier was the slasher and that she cut
herself to cover it up. A jury convicted her of capital murder
and sentenced her to lethal injection.
Pardo's theory is that Routier was involved in planning the
attack, but didn't kill the boys. The investigator believes there
were as many as three intruders -- possibly including Routier
-- whose only goal was to kill Mrs. Routier. The children, Pardo
said, were slain because they witnessed the attack on their mother.
Pardo said the motive may have been a $250,000 life insurance
policy for Mrs. Routier, of which Darin Routier was the beneficiary.
Mrs. Routier's mother, Darlie Kee, said her daughter still
believes her husband was not involved.
"She knows 100 percent that Darin had nothing to do with
this. She said that the only way she would ever believe that Darin
was involved is if he confessed," Ms. Kee told The Dallas
Morning News in Sunday's editions. "She said she knows Darin
would never do anything to hurt their sons."
Nonetheless, Mrs. Routier wrote Pardo: "I must agree that
$250,000 by itself could be enough of a motive for someone to
kill. I've heard about stuff like that in here."
Mrs. Routier declined an interview request from The Associated
Press. Her mother did not return repeated phone calls to her home.
The polygraph revelations and Pardo's assertions add to a litany
of strange elements in the case, from a graveside birthday celebration
just days after the slayings, replete with balloons and Silly
String, to the convicted killer's death-row photo shoot for Cosmopolitan
Even Pardo's role in the case is unusual.
Mrs. Routier's relatives and in-laws approached Pardo in January,
after NBC's Dateline program aired a segment on his investigation
that concluded a man was executed for a 1982 triple murder he
may not have committed.
Pardo was then asked by families to look into almost 1,000
other cases. He said he agreed to investigate the Routier case
because it intrigued him.
Now, Darin Routier's mother says she and others in the family
regret asking for Pardo's help.
"I really wish he'd just leave us alone," Sarilda
Routier said. "He's not a detective. It's really sad that
he's putting these things out there. Evidently, he has some other
agenda than trying to find the truth. He just likes to get his
name in the paper."
Routier held a news conference Sunday to denounce the polygraph
test as rigged and to say he was severing his relationship with
"If (Pardo) is willing to go with these allegations and
against the truth, then we have no reason to use him," he
Authorities have been following the latest twists in the case
and say they plan to follow up.
But other than meeting with Pardo to discuss his findings,
Shook said he doesn't expect any action.
"When new information comes forward any time, you're obligated
to -- and you want to -- examine it," Shook said. "But
there's been no evidence clearing Darlie Routier. It's all speculation
Legally, Pardo's investigation has no bearing on the appeal,
said Stephen Cooper, the lawyer handling Mrs. Routier's appeal.
Polygraph results are rarely, if ever, admissible in court.
A court, however, can hold a hearing to determine whether the
new evidence merits a new trial.
Regardless, Pardo said he's sticking with the case. And he
believes he has an ally in Darlie Routier, who has agreed to his
suggestion that she not see her husband for 30 days.
"I don't believe Darin did this, but I feel you should
follow it all the way through," Mrs. Routier wrote in her
letter. "I just want the truth, Brian."
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