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Vegas woman claims ’evil’ in girl’s scissors death

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LAS VEGAS >> The frenzied woman was shedding clothes as she ran barefoot, bloody and screaming through northwest Las Vegas. When police said they caught up with her, she was naked.

Her name was Danielle, she said, and the blood on her hands was from the "lamb of God."

Danielle Yvonne Slaughter didn’t appear to be injured, police said. The blood, they believe, came from her 6-year-old daughter, Kyla Franks.

Slaughter’s boyfriend had summoned police on Sunday to their home, where the girl was found dead in a bedroom, a pair of scissors nearby.

When detectives questioned her after her arrest, Slaughter asked: "Did I kill my daughter? Is she dead?"

The 27-year-old mother told investigators she had been having trouble sleeping since she started taking the weight-loss product Hydroxycut four days earlier and had felt "an evil presence" for days.

She slept just one hour on the night before she was found in the streets by police, she said. She "never felt this way before" and said she wanted to remove the evil she felt from the house.

Slaughter told police she kept her daughter home from day care on Sunday because of the evil presence. They were sitting on the bed when the girl spoke in "evil words," laughed "in an evil voice" and clawed and kicked at her, Slaughter said.

The mother said she picked up scissors and struck the child several times.

According to a police report, she said "she could not believe she killed her daughter."

It wasn’t immediately known whether federal drug officials have received complaints linking Hydroxycut, a caffeinated dietary supplement, to confusion or delusions. Its only recall, in 2009, was related to complaints over liver damage, said Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey.

The product was reformulated and returned to the market by parent company Iovate Health Services Inc. of Canada and Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc. of Blasdell, N.Y., the FDA spokeswoman said. A company lawyer, Tanya Yaschyshyn, declined to comment Wednesday.

Homicide Lt. Ray Steiber said it was not clear to police that the product was to blame for Slaughter’s mental state.

"We don’t know what caused her actions," Steiber said.

Her mental health came under question Wednesday, when she refused to leave her jail bed for her first court appearance on a murder charge. An angry judge reset arraignment for Friday and told a jail supervisor by closed-circuit video that he wanted Slaughter brought forcibly to court if necessary.

"I have concerns with delaying a case with such a serious charge," the judge said. If convicted of murder, Slaughter could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Her public defender, Andrea Luem, said she was worried about her client’s mental condition.

Luem noted that Slaughter was being held in supervised isolation at the Clark County jail, and said she hoped to obtain a psychological evaluation for her.

"My concern is whether she’s able to understand the charges," Luem said.

Slaughter’s boyfriend, Ashton Lyken, and friends and supporters attended the brief court hearing, and refused to speak to reporters outside the courthouse. Steiber said Slaughter worked in retail sales and lived at the house with Lyken, the girl and two other people.

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