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dateline purgatory coverDateline Purgatory: Examining the Case That Sentenced Darlie Routier to Death

by Kathy Cruz

224 pages, 6 x 9 • Paper $22.95
ISBN 978-0-87565-610-6


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The brutal murders of young Devon and Damon Routier in the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, put their mother—Darlie Routier—at the heart of one of the most notorious murder cases in modern Texas history—despite her own throat having been slashed to within two millimeters of her carotid artery.


The actions of a small-town police department and those within Dallas County's ruthless justice system created a perfect storm that swept up the young mother and landed her on death row. There she has remained, in a nine-feet-by-six-feet cell, despite claims of her innocence by those who know her, findings about the alarming fallibility of bloodstain analysis, and her husband's admission that at the time of the murders he was soliciting help to stage a home burglary to commit insurance fraud.


In Dateline Purgatory, award-winning journalist Kathy Cruz enlists current-day legal experts to weigh in on the shocking transgressions that resulted in one of the country's most controversial death penalty convictions. With the help of the infamous death row inmate and a former FBI Special Agent known as “Crimefighter,” Cruz would find that her journey through Purgatory was as much about herself as it was about the woman dubbed “Dallas’s Susan Smith.”


KATHY CRUZ has received numerous Journalist of the Year honors from Texas press associations, as well as four Stephen Philbin awards for excellence in legal reporting from the Dallas Bar Association—two of which were grand prizes. She is a recipient of a 2011 Texas Gavel Award. Cruz currently resides in Granbury, Texas.


  • “I thought I knew all that there was to know about Darlie Routier—the woman at the center of the most talked-about murder case in modern Texas history. Then I started reading Dateline: Purgatory. Kathy Cruz's book is not only a masterful piece of investigative reporting, it's a beautifully written narrative, filled with characters that seem to come straight out of fiction. Almost twenty years after Darlie's two sons were murdered, the twists and turns in this saga still remain utterly riveting.”
  • —Skip Hollandsworth, Executive Editor of Texas Monthly


  • “Dateline: Purgatory will make you feel. Then it will make you think. And, hopefully, after that, you will want to act. I did, because once an execution is carried out, there is no correcting it.”
  • —Michael Morton, author of Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace


  • "Everybody knows the Texas criminal justice system doesn't work, but few know why and how. Kathy Cruz does, and Dateline: Purgatory proves it. This richly detailed and well-narrated book . . . shows how ambitious prosecutors, compliant judges, and naive jurors can make for a lethal combination. It also shows the terrible human cost involved when justice becomes what it is in Texas: a team sport in a rigged game.”
  • —Jeff Blackburn, Founder and chief counsel, Innocence Project of Texas


  • “A powerful argument for reopening the case . . . .The reasons we all should be suspicious of how this conviction was won, along with details of how Cruz’s destiny crossed with that of Darlie Routier, make for a riveting read.”
  • —Mike Cochran, author of And Deliver Us from Evil and Texas vs. Davis