Lawyer denies Routier family statements



11/5/2003

By Mary Mckee, Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau

DALLAS - Darlie Routier's trial attorney has submitted a sworn document denying that he was hired on the condition that he would not implicate Routier's husband in the slayings of their two children.

Star Telegram
(Darlie) ROUTIER                           


Dallas attorney Doug Mulder rejected statements made in affidavits by Routier's husband and her mother stating that he agreed not to pursue Darin Routier as a suspect in the 1996 stabbing deaths.

"There were absolutely no restrictions on my representation of Ms. Routier with respect to Darin Routier or anyone else," Mulder said in his affidavit, filed Friday.

Questions about whether Mulder effectively represented Darlie Routier were among dozens of claims raised in her July 2002 petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which is part of her appeal of her 1997 capital murder conviction.

In the writ, Darlie Routier's lawyers said that the exclusion of Darin Routier as a suspect foreclosed a valid defense for her.

Darlie Routier was sentenced to death after being convicted in the fatal stabbing of her 5-year-old son, Damon, at the family's Rowlett home, and is on women's Death Row in Gatesville. Routier says that the attack, in which her 6-year-old son, Devon, was also killed, was the work of an intruder.

State District Judge Robert Francis, who must review the writ before sending it to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, requested the affidavit from Mulder after finding that Mulder's involvement was the only issue raised in the writ that merited further examination.

Richard Burr of Houston, the newest member of Darlie Routier's appellate team, said her lawyers will request an evidentiary hearing to sort out the differing statements from Mulder's affidavit and that of Routier's family.

"Various family members thought Mulder agreed not to implicate Darin in agreeing to represent Darlie," Burr said. "If he agreed to do that, that is a severe conflict of interest because no lawyer can tie his hands in representing somebody."

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney John Rolater said he believes that Mulder's affidavit sufficiently addressed the issues raised by the writ.

"I think that the affidavit answers the allegations," he said. "The most I could say after that is that we're cautiously optimistic."

Burr said Darlie Routier's legal team will also continue pursuing access to various pieces of physical evidence so they can do expert testing that could bolster her appeal.

In May, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Routier's direct appeal, which claimed that her trial record contained numerous inaccuracies that prevented her lawyers from raising important legal questions.

- Mary McKee, (972) 263-4448