A Richmond couple was indicted Wednesday for the murder of their 7-month-old daughter.

William Dawes, 27, is charged with murder and first-degree criminal abuse and Diana Dawes, 25, is charged with complicity to murder and first-degree criminal abuse.

On June 29, Serenity Dawes was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center after she stopped breathing while home with her father, William, according to information from Kentucky State Police.

Police said she was placed on life support, but no brain activity could be detected.

Serenity had a fractured skull, retinal hemorrhaging, a broken leg and bruising, police said. She died June 30 from what the state medical examiner’s office determined was blunt force trauma.

After the autopsy, William and Diana Dawes were arrested.

Murder and complicity to murder are capitol offenses.

An arrest warrant filed in Madison District Court states that Diana Dawes failed to protect Serenity from her father, and failed to obtain medical treatment for her after her father beat her.

At their arraignment, the couple entered not guilty pleas and were appointed public defenders.

In an interview with the Register days after being arrested, William Dawes said that he would never harm his daughter and blamed his wife’s family members for the injuries.

During their investigation, police said William Dawes changed his story three times and made statements to the press that were inconsistent with earlier statements.

William Dawes had stated that Serenity had trouble breathing on June 28, but that he had thought she had a cold and didn’t call 911 until the following the day.

She was taken to Pattie A. Clay Medical Center, then later rushed to Lexington.

The indictment states that the defendants committed the murder by causing trauma to her head and body and failing to seek medical attention for Serenity Dawes.

It also claims the defendants committed the offense of first-degree criminal abuse by intentionally grabbing, choking and beating Serenity Dawes and thereby causing torture and/or cruel punishment by permitting Serenity to be abused.

William Dawes is being held in the Madison County Detention Center on a $250,000 cash bond and Diana Dawes on a $100,000 cash bond, according to the jail’s website.

Tim Mandell can be reached at tmandell@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

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