I've been reading a lot about this case lately, and viewing some of the documentaries, and this extremely ironic aspect of the case is totally overlooked. If Darlie had died, Darin would have been the one put on trial and, if things had gone the way they went in Darlie's trial, HE would have been convicted of murder. Yet practically from day one, he was not considered a suspect. And one has to wonder why. Considering the seriousness of Darlie's throat wound, it's hard to rule out the possibility that she herself was the intended victim.
Could Darin have decided to kill Darlie to collect on her $250,000 life insurance policy? He'd been living above his means for years and was, at the time, desperately trying to get a loan. The prospect of collecting on a quarter of a million dollar insurance policy is a pretty powerful motive, while it's all but impossible to find a motive for Darlie to suddenly snap and stab her own children to death. Is it possible to put together a convincing scenario with Darin instead of Darlie as the perpetrator and Darlie as a victim? Pure speculation of course -- but let's give it a try:
As we know, Darin had recently contemplated the staging of a burglary as part of an insurance scam. This tells us how desperate he was for cash, and how willing he was to break the law in order to get some. So let's say that one day, out of sheer desperation, he decides that, instead of staging a burglary, he could stage the murder of his heavily insured wife by a would-be burglar. When alone in the house, he grabs a knife from the kitchen, walks into the garage and cuts a slit in a window screen to stage a point of entry. He then returns the knife to its rack in the kitchen and waits for Darlie and the children to come home. That night, he decides to make his move. He walks downstairs to the kitchen, takes a knife from the rack and quietly makes his way into the family room where Darlie and his two sons are fast asleep. It's possible that he could have prepared a paper towel soaked in chloroform or ether ahead of time. He'd have crept up from behind her, covered her face with the towel, and waited for her to lose consciousness. During this episode there could have been a struggle, which would explain the cut on her arm.
Once she was unconscious, Darin could have slit her throat without fear of her screaming and alerting the neighbors. Since he'd slashed so deeply into her throat, Darin might well have assumed that she was either dead or dying at that point, so his attention then turned to the two boys, who could have awakened during the struggle. Since they could identify him, they too would have to be killed. He stabs them both viciously, to make it look as though they'd been attacked by some monstrous psychopath.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Darin, Darlie is slowly reviving and in an extremely confused state of mind. Suffering from shock, she doesn't recall what happened and doesn't realize at first that her throat had been slashed. And since she'd been assaulted from behind, she has no way of knowing who stabbed her. She looks up and sees what she assumes to be an intruder. She can't identify him because his back is turned. And by the same token, Darin has no idea that Darlie is alive and regaining consciousness. Assuming that everyone in the family room is either dead or dying, he drops the knife and heads for the utility room and from there to the garage.
And at this point, I must admit, I find it difficult to speculate regarding what he would have been up to or what was on his mind. Perhaps he'd decided to make his way into the alley to plant that bloody sock. No need for him to run two blocks to plant it. He could have dropped it just outside the garage, as intruder evidence -- a stray dog might have got hold of it at some point, and carried it to the place where it was later found. Returning to the house, he would have overheard Darlie on the phone, hysterically trying to communicate with the 911 operator. Realizing to his horror that she was still alive, he would have had no choice but to forget about completing his staging, switching gears to play the innocent husband, "coming to the rescue" of his family. Quietly making his way back into the house from the front entrance, he could have given Darlie the impression that he'd just run downstairs after hearing her screams. As we can see from the floor plan, someone arriving via the front door could easily make it seem to someone in the kitchen as though he'd just emerged from the staircase:
While Darlie was distracted by her 911 call, Darin would then have thrown himself on top of one of the boys, pretending to render CPR, thus providing investigators with a reason why his victim's blood would be on his clothing. When the police arrive, he is, of course, "fully cooperative."
Since I'm new to this case, I can't be sure that the above scenario is fully consistent with all the evidence, so at this point I'm just tossing it out for whatever it may be worth, in the hope that someone reading here can offer a critique.
Regardless of how accurate my scenario might turn out to be, it does seem extremely strange that the authorities decided to rule Darin out so soon. Some light is shed on the situation by a writ of Habeas Corpus by Douglas Parks, a lawyer representing Darlie's appeal, dating, it would seem, from 2004. Some excerpts:
The State’s misconduct is matched only by the unethical and unconstitutional actions of Petitioner’s own defense counsel, who, even though advised by her prior counsel that the husband was a possible perpetrator, agreed not to implicate Petitioner’s husband in her trial as a condition of being hired by the family to defend her. By completely foreclosing this line of defense, her counsel never learned or presented to the jury evidence that Darin Routier had arranged to have his car stolen in 1994 to collect insurance proceeds and for a period of months before the events on June 6, 1996, had inquired of relatives and associates whether they knew of anyone who would “burglarize” his home so that he could collect the insurance proceeds. . .
Defense Counsel’s Attorney-Client Relationship with Darin Routier and Employment Arrangement with the Routier Family Prevented Defense Counsel From Presenting an Effective Defense for Petitioner and From Effectively Cross-Examining Darin Routier at Trial.All I can say is: hmmmmmm . . .
Defense counsel was twice conflicted in this case. First, he represented Darin Routier in a matter substantially related to this case. Although the State had evidence implicating Darin Routier in the crimes with which Petitioner was charged, that concurrent representation of Petitioner’s husband prevented defense counsel from investigating Darin Routier and pursuing a viable defense strategy for Petitioner. Second, Darin Routier “told [defense counsel] that if we hired him, [he] did not want him to ‘go after’ [him]. [Defense counsel] agreed that, if hired to represent [Petitioner], he would not argue as part of the defense that [Darin Routier] was in any way responsible for the death of [his] children.” Routier Aff. ¶ 7. These obvious and irreconcilable conflicts of interest adversely affected his representation of Petitioner throughout her trial.