Henry Dinkins, 51, who was found guilty in the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Breasia Terrell, will be sentenced Wednesday in Scott County Court.
He faces the possibility of life in prison.
On Sept. 15, Judge Henry Latham recounted the case before finding Dinkins guilty on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges.
Latham said it was beyond a reasonable doubt that the remains found near the Kunau dealership were those of Breasia. He said her brother D.L. was instrumental in solving the kidnapping and murder of his sister.
The court found that Dinkins, 51, of Davenport, shot her and as a result, Breasia died. The judge found him guilty of murder in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree.
Dinkins was held without bond in the Scott County Jail pending the afternoon sentencing hearing on Wednesday. A pre-sentence report was ordered.
Dinkins and his family continue to maintain his innocence.
After the verdict
“I don’t know how to feel,” Breasia’s mother, Aishia Lankford, said. “I feel like I just won the lottery.”
Scott County Attorney Kelly Cunningham, prosecutor, said afterward she feels justice was served.
“Our thoughts have been and will continue to be with Breasia and her family who continue to experience the trauma of her loss. I am deeply grateful for the dedicated work of the men and women of the Davenport Police Department who have spent countless hours over the past three years diligently working on this case. Because of their unrelenting effort, justice was brought on behalf of Breasia,” said Davenport Police Chief Jeff Bladel in a news release.
Throughout the investigation, Davenport Police and partner agencies together investigated an extensive number of tips, conducted hundreds of interviews, and served over 60 search warrants related to Breasia’s disappearance. During the multi-county search, numerous local, county, state and federal partner agencies aided in the search for Breasia by providing aircraft, drones, kayaks, boats, all-terrain vehicles, command centers, and countless other types of support along with hundreds of personnel, the release says..
“I also want to recognize our partners at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, and over twenty other local, state, and federal partners for their excellent work in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” said Bladel. “This case has been difficult and demanding on all personnel, and their hard work and dedication helped to bring justice on behalf of Breasia.”
During the 17-day trial, the prosecution called 51 witnesses to provide testimony including investigators, forensic experts, canine handlers, and family members. In addition, over 900 exhibits were offered and admitted as evidence.
Scott County Attorney Kelly Cunningham added “I’d like to thank the court and Judge Latham for his service and care in reaching this decision. I’d also like to recognize the diligent work and tireless efforts put forth by law enforcement to bring justice for Breasia. This case demonstrates the outstanding partnership and collaboration between prosecutors and law enforcement who are dedicated to the safety and well-being of our community.”
The public and community organizations were recognized for their assistance with the investigation- from volunteering for large scale searches across two counties, to the hundreds of tips that were submitted by the public, and for the support provided to those impacted by this incident.
“Today, our criminal justice system delivered justice for Breasia Terrell and her family,” said Chief Bladel. “We thank Breasia’s friends, family, and community for the tremendous trust they placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime. While nothing can bring Breasia back to her family, I hope that this verdict allows for healing for Breasia’s family.”
The history of the case
Breasia was reported missing on July 10, 2020. He spoke about the dynamics of the family. Plans were made for the defendant to spend time with D.L., Dinkins’ son, on July 9. It was D.L.’s wish to have Breasia, his sister, come along for an overnight stay at the apartment with Dinkins and his then-girlfriend Andrea Culberson.
Latham continued reviewing the facts in the case. He said if Breasia was not in the apartment, or she would have wanted to be with her brother. Dinkins’ purchase of $35 in gas was enough to fill the tank of the Impala. The judge was emotional as he continued to discuss D.L.’s testimony after a lengthy pause.
Latham said D.L. explained to officers he was on a hill with his father and tried to explain the area. He said the court finds beyond a reasonable doubt D.L. was present with Dinkins in the area. He said Dinkins had Breasia Terrell in his control.
Dinkins, after being pulled from the shoulder of the road, returned to the apartment, Latham said. Andrea Culberson, Dinkins’ girlfriend at the time, was surprised to see him in different clothing when he returned. He purchased two bottles of Clorox bleach at the Clinton Walmart, Latham said.
Latham said the court finds D.L.’s testimony as to the smell of bleach “very credible.” Although the machete D. L. said he saw did not reveal DNA or fingerprints, it had been wiped off, because there were fibers in the serrated blade.
As the judge continued recounting the case, he said it was beyond a reasonable doubt that the remains found near the Kunau dealership were those of Breasia Terrell. He said D.L. was instrumental in solving the kidnapping and murder of his sister. The court found that Dinkins shot her and as a result, Breasia died.