The Cult of Darlie

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Brown first grabbed Davis' attention when he showed her a collection of photographs police had taken of Darlie in the days following her arrest that showed her arms and wrists covered with bruises, a strong indication that Darlie had struggled with someone, perhaps an intruder. Though she sat through the entire trial, Davis had no idea just how injured Darlie was. "The only picture published to the jury was the one showing what they said was a superficial wound to her neck," she says. "If I had seen the other pictures, which show she had the hell beaten out of her, I would have listened to her story more carefully."

She was also shocked when Brown showed her the focus notes--the hour-by-hour record kept by nurses during Darlie's hospital stay. They show that Darlie was distraught over her children's deaths and not aloof and unemotional as the nurses testified under oath. "I now believe perjury was committed, that these witnesses were coached," Davis says.

The prosecution told the court that if Darlie had been cut on her neck while she was sleeping, as she'd claimed, a gold necklace she was wearing would have had nicks in it from the knife. During the trial, Assistant DA Greg Davis claimed there were no nicks in the chain, and the defense never challenged this. Brown, however, took a picture of the chain and magnified it about 800 percent. Davis says she can clearly see two nicks in the chain.

Davis says she believed the state's experts when they said a bloody fingerprint found on the door of the Routiers' utility room, through which Darlie claimed an intruder had fled, could not be identified because it was only a partial print. But a computer-enlarged picture of the print that Brown made has convinced Davis it has enough clearly identifiable characteristics to exclude known suspects, such as Darin and Darlie.

The most troubling piece of evidence to Davis, however, is a photograph of the crime scene that the state introduced. It is actually several pictures of the bloody den that are pieced together to provide a panoramic view. There is, however, a piece missing. That bothered Davis during the trial, but she simply assumed it was an angle the crime-scene photographer had forgotten to take.

But after sifting through 400 crime-scene photos, Christopher Brown found the picture that was missing. It shows the part of the den where an evidence bag is lying on the floor in a pool of blood, which means that anything put in the bag may have been contaminated by the blood.

"True, we don't know if that evidence bag was used, but the fact is, they hid it from us," Davis says. "That is an indication of a whole lot of stuff. They're trying to fool somebody."

While police investigators claimed the crime scene at the Routier home was staged, Davis now believes the investigators did some staging of their own. "My heart is broken, my faith destroyed," Davis says. Her faith in defense attorney Doug Mulder has also diminished. Much of this evidence isn't new. Mulder could have found most of it, she says, if only he'd done his homework. But Davis believes he ran out of time and money. He got the case two months before it went to trial and was paid $100,000--a pittance by capital murder trial standards.

The first thing Davis did after she had her change of heart was ask Brown whether Darlie would meet with her. Darlie agreed. "The first meeting was intense," Davis says. "I got out my apology, and the first thing Darlie says is that she forgave me before I even asked. Then she looked at me and started crying, and said, 'I didn't murder my children.'"

Davis has visited Darlie several times since then at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, where Darlie has been housed since October while her attorneys hash out the trial transcript mess in court. "She's not the woman I thought," Davis says. "She's kind and forgiving. She's angry, but not vengeful. She just wants out. She wants to go home. She wants to touch her little boy and be with her husband."

So who is this super sleuth, Christopher Brown? And is he really onto something?

Leeza Gibbons might have taken everything Brown said at face value, but no one else should. He criticizes journalists who covered the case for being sloppy and biased, yet his book is riddled with misspellings, typographical errors, inaccuracies, and dozens of unsubstantiated facts. He claims, for instance, that one of the Dallas assistant district attorneys who prosecuted Darlie had it in for her because she reminded him of his ex-wife, who Brown claims left him for another man.

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Ann Zimmerman

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