Las Vegas Sun

January 29, 2023

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Mom pleads not guilty by reason of insanity in daughter’s fatal stabbing

Next court date for Danielle Slaughter to be May 16

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Danielle Slaughter

A Las Vegas woman plans to use an insanity defense in the March 11 death of her 6-year-old daughter, Kyla Franks, who she told police she stabbed with a pair of scissors after sensing an “evil” presence in the girl.

Danielle Slaughter, 27, will have her next court hearing in two weeks when her trial date is expected to be set on a felony charge of murder with the use of a deadly weapon.

During her arraignment Thursday morning in Clark County District Court, Slaughter told Arraignment Hearing Master Melisa De La Garza she pleaded “not guilty by insanity.”

Slaughter waived her right to have a trial within 60 days.

Slaughter’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Andrea Luem, asked the judge to set a status check on the case, rather than set a trial date.

After a brief discussion at the bench with Luem and Chief Deputy District Attorney Pam Weckerly, De La Garza said that Slaughter’s next hearing, for setting a trial, will be at 8:30 a.m. May 16 before Judge Elissa Cadish.

Luem and Weckerly declined commenting on the case after the arraignment.

Slaughter continues to be held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

Metro Police have said they think the stabbing took place sometime before 6 p.m. March 11.

Officers said they began receiving 911 calls about 6 p.m. March 11 about a woman running down Vegas Drive near Jones Boulevard. The callers said the woman had blood on her hands, was barefoot and was screaming. Other callers said the woman was shedding clothes as she ran, then was reported to be naked at Michael Way.

Officers said they found Slaughter at 6:14 p.m. at Vegas Drive and Leonard Lane and eventually chased her to Vegas Drive and Decatur.

At the time, Slaughter told officers the blood came from the “Lamb of God,” according to an arrest report. Although they could not find any injuries on her, they took her to Valley Hospital, according to the arrest report.

Officers said they later received a 911 call about 8:55 that night that the girl’s body had been discovered in the master bedroom of her home in the 1600 block of Palmae Way. The call was made by a person who identified himself as Slaughter's boyfriend, according to the police report.

He told detectives Slaughter had called him to say Kyla was dead, but Slaughter was nowhere to be found when he arrived at the home, the arrest report said.

Detectives said the girl likely died from stab wounds to the neck from scissors, which were found near her body.

Police said they tracked Slaughter to the hospital's emergency room, where she was about to be discharged. Slaughter reportedly told them the incident was out of character and repeatedly expressed disbelief that she killed her daughter, the arrest report states.

Slaughter blamed an “evil presence” she had been feeling in the house for several days, acknowledging the need to remove evil from the dwelling, according to the arrest report.

The report said that Slaughter told officers that she had taken her daughter into the bedroom and held her while sitting on the edge of the bed.

The report said, “Kyla began to kick and scratch at Danielle. Danielle stated Kyla was saying evil words to her and ‘laughing in an evil voice.’ Danielle stated she picked up scissors that were lying on the desk by the computer and ‘struck’ Kyla multiple times with them.”

Slaughter told detectives she had been taking a dietary aid for the previous four days and had been having trouble sleeping and had slept only one hour the previous night, the arrest report said.

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