Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Foreword. Imperiled Justice: Exonerations Are Proof of Problems in Our Courtrooms

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

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...

read more

Preface. Perdition: per-di-tion. 1. a. Loss of the soul; eternal damnation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xiv

Barbara Davis was on a roll. Her third book was fresh off the presses, and there was little doubt more true-crime books were in the talented author’s future. Precious Angels: A True Story of Two Slain Children and a Mother Convicted of Murder might prove to be her most lucrative project. After...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xv-xvi

I would like to express my gratitude to Courtney Fillmore, a Texas Christian University student and daughter of a lawyer, who arranged my interview with experienced court reporter Suzi Kelly.
I would like to thank my selfless coworker Nancy Pricer, who transcribed recorded...

Part I. Silver Bullet

read more

1. 6-6-6

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 2-4

“Rowlett 9-1-1, what is your emergency?”
It was 2:31 a.m. on June 6, 1996, when a Rowlett emergency dispatcher was jolted to high alert by a hysterical, breathless woman on the other end of the line. “Somebody came in here—they broke in—they just stabbed me and my children!” For five minutes and forty-four seconds, “Operator #1” had a...

read more

2. Lone Ranger

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 5-11

It is late on a Friday afternoon in September when I scoot into a booth at the Fuddruckers restaurant off Interstate 20 in the Fort Worth suburb of Benbrook. I am there to meet a man I’ll call “Derrick,” a licensed private investigator. We had agreed to split the distance—I traveling from the Hood County News offices...

read more

3. Young Love in Purgatory, Colorado

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 12-16

Lubbock, Texas, May 1985: two star-crossed young lovers meet at the Western Sizzlin restaurant on Indiana Drive. Their meeting isn’t by accident. Darlie Kee, a waitress at the popular steak chain, had told her hardworking coworker, Darin Routier, that her pretty fifteen-year-old daughter (and namesake)...

read more

4. Innocence Lost

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-22

In the Lubbock offices of the Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX), law students from the Texas Tech University School of Law have gathered to report to founder Jeff Blackburn on their research on arson convictions. The students are just a few weeks into the fall semester, and I am in the early stages of researching...

read more

5. Aunt Sandy’s Notebooks

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 23-28

Sandy Aitken is inside the Walmart in Azle on a September afternoon when her cell phone rings. She and her husband, Robert, are shopping before getting on the road to go to the bedside of Sandy’s ailing father in Houston. The voice on the other end of Sandy’s phone is mine. I had...

read more

6. Crimefighter

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-39

It is a rainy Saturday in May—Memorial Day weekend. Towering pine trees along Interstate 20 indicate that after three and a half hours on the road, my destination is finally near. I am in Northeast Texas, near Tyler (the “Rose Capital of the World”) and the piney woods of Tyler State Park. In the outlying...

read more

7. Mayday

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 40-43

On Sunday morning, the clouds have cleared and skies are sunny. I check out of Room 128 at the Comfort Suites off I-35 and head to West, seventeen miles north of Waco. I am to meet Skip Reaves at what remains of his home. The house was destroyed more than a month earlier, on April 17, in an ammonium...

read more

8. Rainy Day Woman

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 44-54

In Room 210 at the Comfort Suites in Rowlett, a TV weatherman tells me what I already know from peeking out the window at the bluish-gray clouds over Lake Ray Hubbard: the first day of June will likely bring rain showers. It is Saturday, and once again I am spending a weekend on the road in pursuit of...

read more

9. Urgent and Confidential for Room 209

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 55-58

It is midafternoon on a blazing hot Friday in August when I park the Silver Bullet by the front doors of the Hood County News and hit the eject button on the CD player. In the trunk is a suitcase packed for another weekend on the road. I remove the Waylon Jennings disc that I have been listening to for a year...

read more

10. Friends of Distinction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 59-65

The McDonald’s restaurant at Gaston Avenue and North Washington Street near downtown Dallas is bustling when I walk in at 10:00 a.m. on a golden autumn Monday. At a booth in the back, near the restrooms, a man watches me. I give him a questioning look. He nods. Kenneth Waits and I have...

read more

11. A Poisoned Pen

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 66-75

It is 8:30 p.m., and a witch is screaming at me to put away my cell phone. The woman in a witch costume has singled me out for playful abuse as I stand in line at Hangman’s House of Horrors in Fort Worth. The popular Halloween- season attraction that has raised millions for charity is celebrating its...

read more

12. Family Secrets

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 76-83

On a day in late October, my drive on State Highway 6 takes me across the blue waters of Lake Waco, near Speegleville Park. It was at the park, on the south end of a cove, that the bodies of three teenagers—Jill Montgomery, Raylene Rice, and Kenneth Franks—were found by fishermen in July 1982...

read more

13. Burgers and Fries and Cherry Pies

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 84-87

The Whataburger on Junction Highway in Ingram, not far from Kerrville, does a brisk weekday lunch business. On a sunny Friday, six days before Thanksgiving, there is one corner booth still unoccupied. Charlie Samford, dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt, and a Vietnam Veteran cap, slides into the booth...

read more

14. ’Til Death Do Us Part

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 88-93

In Greek mythology, sailors would be lured to coastlines by the angelic singing voices of beautiful sirens, only to shipwreck against the perilous rocks. The largest coffeehouse company in the world adopted the image of a mythical mermaid siren to seduce java lovers into its twenty-one thousand stores. It...

read more

15. Darkness Falls in Arkansas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 94-102

It is a cold weekday in February and I am writing a story for the next HCN issue when Bonnie rounds the corner by my cubicle as she makes her daily rounds. “Mail for you.” She hands me another letter from Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmate #999220—Darlie Routier. I open it to find that...

Part II. The Thin Blonde Line

read more

16. A Fatal Collision

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 104-109

Darlie Lynn Peck was around eight or so when she moved to Texas with her mother, Darlie Kee. They moved back to Altoona, Pennsylvania, for a time, but then moved again to Texas. Darlie Lynn’s aunt, Sherry Moses—four years younger than her sister, Darlie Kee—remembers how much her niece...

read more

17. Code Red

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 110-115

I arrive at work on a Tuesday morning in December to find that Crimefighter sent me an e-mail. Judging from the subject line (“Howling at the Moon”) and the time the message crash-landed in my inbox (6:09 a.m.), I know before I open it that the former FBI man has had another turbulent night because of...

read more

18. Psycho

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 116-130

Every morning at 4:00 a.m., a chaotic din emanates from cellblocks inside the bowels of the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, making the prison sound like a mental asylum. Female inmates—some suicidal—scream and sob. Some manage to find something with which to cut themselves. Others deliberately...

read more

19. Jezebel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 131-142

It was January 1997 and, in the Kerr County Courthouse, Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Greg Davis had Dr. Janis Townsend-Parchman on the stand. Davis was questioning Townsend-Parchman, a medical doctor and a Dallas County medical examiner, about the injuries she observed on Darlie...

read more

20. Thunder Rolls

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 143-155

The skies above Dallas were becoming increasingly turbulent, as was the atmosphere inside the chambers of State District Judge Robert Francis. At the center of the storm was Sandra Halsey, the court reporter responsible for the official record of the Darlie Routier capital murder...

read more

21. A Matter of Integrity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 156-166

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is running late on a mild Friday morning in January. I am to meet with him, along with Russell Wilson, head of the Conviction Integrity Unit, and First Assistant DA Heath Harris, at 10:00 a.m. The topic of the discussion will be Darlie Routier...

read more

22. The Hanging Capital

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-172

One of the most controversial issues in the State of Texas v. Darlie Lynn Routier is the change of venue to Kerr County. Darlie Kee says her daughter’s court-appointed lawyers, Doug Parks and Wayne Huff, suggested a venue change because of the publicity that swirled around the case. The family...

read more

23. A Hand to Hold

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-177

“Guilty.”
The pronouncement from Judge Mark Tolle reverberated through the courtroom. Sandy Aitken locked eyes with lead prosecutor Greg Davis. Danelle, Darlie Routier’s thirteen-year-old sister, screamed and wept, as did Sherry Moses’s twelve-year-old daughter, Shana. “You’re going to burn in hell...

read more

24. Hindsight

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 178-187

It is a foggy, drizzly day in late February when I pull up to the visitors parking area by one of the guard towers at Mountain View. For this interview, possibly our last, I intend to discreetly take note of Darlie Routier’s body language and eye contact. Melanie Waits had said Routier’s hands shake. It was something I had...

read more

25. Aunt Sandy’s Letters

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 188-195

Twenty-two months after my visit to Aunt Sandy’s house to examine her handwritten notes from the trial, I return—this time to read some of the approximately two hundred letters she received from Darlie from 1996, after her arrest, to sometime in 2000. Robert, who has heart problems, has been in...

read more

26. Bent

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 196-215

Barbara Davis was not the only author who attended the trial in Kerrville. Don Davis (no relation) was there as well. In his author’s notes for Hush Little Babies, Don Davis stated that prosecutors “played to fear and emotion.” He criticized prosecutors for focusing on things...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 216-224

Standing at the door of my closet, I could see there was plenty of black apparel appropriate for a funeral. Yet, my eye kept falling on a sky-blue boucle suit with a matching flower pin.
I laid out on the bed the collection of black, but chose the blue.
The next day, arriving at the funeral chapel with my two sons, ages ten and...