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Darin Routier lashes out at man behind polygraph

By: Michael Saul
The Dallas Morning News
June 8, 1998
    Darin Routier said Sunday that he no longer wants a Waco businessman’s help in freeing his wife from death row because the wealthy crusader suspects him of playing a role in his sons’ murders and slashing his wife.
    At a news conference outside the Lakewood Theatre in East Dallas, Mr. Routier accused Brian Pardo of pressuring him through manipulation and lies into taking a polygraph test.
    Mr. Routier failed the May 22 test about events surrounding his son’s June 6, 1996, stabbing deaths at the family’s Rowlett home.  But he said Sunday that the results are meaningless.
    “If he [Mr. Pardo] is willing to go with these allegations and this direction and go against the truth, then we have no reason to use him,” Mr. Routier said, adding that he wants the multimillionaire to end his investigation.
    “We are in this for the truth, and there is not many people fighting for that anymore,” Mr. Routier said.
    Mr. Pardo, 55, said that Mr. Routier has no standing to ask him to end the investigation and that he plans to continue until he solves the crime.
    “I’m sorry that his had led to Darin’s doorstep,” he said.  “I think it’s odd that he is talking about seeking the truth, but when the glare of the truth turns in his directions he wants me to cease and desist.”
    The semi-retired insurance executive agreed in January at the family’s request to investigate the boys’ slayings and their mother’s trial.
    Darlie Lynn Routier, 28, was sentenced to death in February 1997 after a Kerr County jury convicted her of capital murder in the fatal stabbing of 5-year-old Damon.  Devon, 6, was also killed in the attack.
    In his first public appearance since media reports of the polygraph test, Mr. Routier spoke Sunday evening at a news conference sponsored by the organizers of Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing, an anti-death penalty tour of Texas cities led by murder victims’ relatives.
    Mr. Routier denounced polygraph testing in general and said the test he took was rigged.
    “I could tell by the questions that they wanted me to fail it,” he said.  “They set me up to fail it, put me in a position to fail it, and that’s exactly what they got.  They got the results that they asked for.”
    Mr. Pardo said he stands by the integrity of polygraph testing.  Although tests can be fallible, he said, they are mostly accurate and reliable.
    Polygraph experts say the test is extremely reliable and has reached the point of scientific credibility.  However, results of polygraph tests are generally not admissible in court.
    “The reason he failed the polygraph test was because, in the opinion of the examiner, he was not telling the truth,” Mr. Pardo said.
    Mr. Pardo disputed Mr. Routier’s contention that he was manipulated into taking the test.  “He unequivocally was not manipulated,” he said.
    The polygraph examiner determined that Mr. Routier lied in answering each of four questions about the crime: when he denied planning a crime at his home, stabbing his wife, knowing who left a bloody sock in the alley and knowing the identity of his sons’ killer.
    Sam Reese Sheppard, whose father’s murder case inspired the movie The Fugitive, said at the news conference that he saw a link between his father’s case and then Routier case.
    Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted more than four decades ago and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his pregnant wife.  After 12 years of legal battles, Dr. Sheppard won a new trail and was acquitted.
    “There is a historical connection here with this case because the wrongful conviction of my father involved the manipulation of the media by misinformation about lie detector testing,” the younger Mr. Sheppard said.
    He said his father did not take a lie-detector test because he thought the people who would conduct the test would be prejudiced.
    “The authorities had everyone around him take a lie-detector test,” Mr. Sheppard said.  “And then when they got into court, they said, ‘Aha, he did not take a lie-detector test, he must be guilty.’”
    Mr. Routier said he agreed to take the polygraph test to convince Mr. Pardo that he was not responsible for the crime.  He said he thinks he failed it because of the way Mr. Pardo pressured him into taking it.
    “Darin was scared to death, and he was not given the opportunity to pass it right,” said his mother, Sarilda Routier, in a phone interview from her home in Lubbock.  “When you think you know you’re innocent, you continue to be ignorant like these two kids [Darin and Darlie Routier] have done for two years now.”
    Darlie Routier has said she thinks an intruder broke into the family’s home, killed the boys and attacked her with a knife before fleeing.  Mr. Routier told police he was sleeping upstairs with the couple’s only surviving son, Drake, now 2 1/2, when the attack occurred.
    Law enforcement officials said they believe the polygraph test raises questions about whether Mr. Routier helped his wife murder their children or helped her stage the crime scene after the slayings.  They said the test does nothing to shake their confidence in Ms. Routier’s guilt.
    Mr. Pardo said he believes Ms. Routier was the intended murder victim.  According to his theory, the boys were killed because they witnessed the attack on their mother.
    Mr. Routier and his mother said Sunday that they think Mr. Pardo is more interested in media attention than the truth, an allegation Mr. Pardo denies.
    “He hasn’t been honest with me and the family and Darlie,” Mr. Routier said.  “I just don’t see any reason to continue to hurt his family anymore.”