Serenity McKinney’s mother pleads guilty to manslaughter in 4-year-old’s death
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Bullitt County woman has been charged in the death of her 4-year-old daughter back in 2020.
Catherine “Abby” McKinney pleaded guilty on Friday to manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in connection to the death of Serenity McKinney.
Serenity was last seen in Dec. 2020 and was reported missing by her grandparents one year later in Jan. 2022.
In Feb. 2022, Kentucky State Police found Serenity’s body in a wooded area inside a green suitcase near the Jefferson-Bullitt County line. The Bullitt County Coroner confirmed the results later in August.
Prosecutors offered McKinney a plea deal dropping charges from murder to manslaughter in order to get her to agree to testify against her boyfriend, Dakota Hill, who is the other suspect in this case.
Under the deal, McKinney will get a 12-year sentence and will have to serve at least a decade.
“Every case involves give and take in situations like this,” Bailey Taylor, Bullitt County Commonwealth’s Attorney said. “We felt it was very important that we have Ms. McKinney’s testimony going forward.”
Serenity’s grandparents were called on Thursday night to inform them of the murder charge being dropped to manslaughter.
In court, several family members attended wearing pink shirts that read “Justice for Serenity.”
“You hear manslaughter, you’re like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get several years,’ and then, you know she’s only getting 12,” Melody Rolle, Serenity’s paternal grandmother said. “But for what she did and what she’s going to testify against Dakota and what she has endured, she’s going to have to live with that for the rest of her life. And she needs to heal, too, at some point.”
A judge needs to sign off on the plea deal for McKinney. Hill is scheduled to appear in court in June.
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.