Woman accused of two killings wants public defender

YERINGTON, Nev. - A woman accused of killing her niece and the teenager's unborn baby told a judge Thursday she wants a lawyer appointed to help defend her against the two murder charges.

Erin Rae Kuhn, 31, Sacramento, also said that while she has been referred to in court papers as Erin Rae Kuhn-Brown she wants her ex-husband's name dropped from her's.

It was her first appearance in a Lyon County courtroom since she unsuccessfully fought extradition from California earlier this week.

Her request for a public defender could complicate the case because there are no lawyers in the county currently certified to defend a suspect in a case that could carry the death penalty.

District Attorney Robert Estes said he was under the impression that her parents were trying to hire her a lawyer.

But Kuhn said she was not aware of that.

''If they are doing it, they are doing it on their own,'' she said.

A decision on a public defender is expected later this week.

Kuhn, who is scheduled to appear in court again Oct. 12, has been charged with two counts of murder with a deadly weapon.

Investigators say she allegedly murdered her niece, Kathaleena Draper, 17, after the teen-ager changed her mind about letting Kuhn adopt her unborn baby.

Kuhn, an emergency room technician, then surgically removed the baby, which later died, investigators said.

Nevada officials say the murders took place while the two were traveling to Las Vegas.

Draper's body was found wrapped in plastic near a Sacramento dump site on June 17. The baby's body was found near Silver Springs, Nev.


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