Dakota Hill received a 50-year prison sentence for the murder of Serenity McKinney, his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter.
Last Thursday, a Kentucky resident was sentenced to five decades behind bars for the brutal killing of Serenity McKinney, a young girl just four years of age. As reported by WDRB, Dakota Hill, a 28-year-old man, humbly addressed the court during his sentencing and earnestly requested forgiveness for his actions.
“In light of the repercussions my conduct has inflicted upon your family, I express my sincere remorse,” Hill conveyed with genuine remorse. “While I understand that no measure of time can resurrect Serenity, I hope that it may provide some solace and aid in your healing process.”
Hill continued, acknowledging the long and arduous journey of self-forgiveness he must undertake. “Moreover, I beseech your forgiveness, for although it is conceivable that one day I may regain my freedom, true liberation can only be attained through the act of forgiveness. I am acutely aware of the immeasurable sorrow and loss I have imposed upon your family, and my prayers are with you during this time of profound anguish.”
In February of last year, Serenity’s maternal grandfather reported her disappearance, as her extended family members had not seen her since Christmas Eve in 2020. Although the young girl had spoken with her grandfather on Father’s Day in 2021, she refrained from disclosing her location. When the authorities apprehended Hill and Serenity’s mother, Catherine McKinney, in Kansas, both individuals demonstrated a complete lack of cooperation with the investigators’ efforts to locate the missing child.
Weeks later, law enforcement discovered Serenity’s lifeless body concealed within a suitcase in a wooded area bordering Jefferson and Bullitt counties. According to a report from Bullitt County Coroner David Billings, released in October 2022 and cited by WDRB, Serenity’s death was officially classified as a homicide. However, the specific cause of her demise remains undetermined.
In May, Hill pleaded guilty to the charges of murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence, as reported by WDRB. Catherine McKinney had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter on April 14 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison by Judge Rodney Burress.
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Numerous family members of Serenity have been unwavering in their attendance at court proceedings. Melody Roller, the child’s paternal grandmother, expressed to WDRB that no punishment could ever amount to true justice for her granddaughter.
“Attempting to reconcile justice with the brutal murder of an innocent four-year-old girl proves an insurmountable task. The notion of justice, in the context of my granddaughter’s life, eludes me entirely. She deserved a future filled with promise and happiness, an opportunity to live her life,” Roller lamented.
Charleen Gadd, Serenity’s paternal great-grandmother, voiced her skepticism regarding Hill’s purported remorse for his actions, despite his plea for forgiveness.
“He exhibited no sense of remorse. No tears were shed. To me, it seemed as though he was merely reading a statement someone else had penned on his behalf,” Gadd told WDRB.
According to Bullitt County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bailey Taylor, Kentucky law dictates that Hill may be eligible for parole after 20 years. However, the likelihood of parole being granted is deemed exceedingly slim by Taylor.