The trial of Henry Dinkins, accused of the 2020 kidnapping and murder of 10 year old Breasia Terrell, is in its 11th day. Dinkins and his family maintain that he is innocent.
Day 11 of testimony began with a video of an interview with Jerod Brink, who died since he gave the testimony. The video shows Brink being interviewed at the Davenport Police Department about an incident near Kunau Implement early on July 10, 2020, when Breasia was reported missing.
“A Black man jumped out in front of me and waved his arms,” Brink said in the video. “He said he was stuck.” Brink said the car was “toward the south end of the pond.” Brink said the man told him he made a wrong turn coming from Clinton to Davenport. Brink used a chain to get the car out. The man, he said, “wanted to give me a hundred bucks” but Brink wouldn’t take the money, telling the man to “just help somebody else out.” Brink said in the video, “the car was extremely clean inside.” Brink said he left for work at Linwood Mining every morning about 4:30 a.m. He said the car was maroon.
Brink then talked about being at a friend’s house when he learned that police were looking for information on a maroon Impala. The friend was Joe Adams, who testified previously.
Davenport Police Detective Sean Johnson, who interviewed Brink in the video, continued his testimony for the state. He pointed to a map of the Kunau Implement area where Brink said he pulled the car out.
Johnson pointed to a photo of Dinkins that shows a mole near the right side of his nose, which Brink mentioned in his description of the man he helped. Brink went to the area of the pond to show officers where he pulled out the maroon car, Johnson testified. Scott County Attorney Kelly Cunningham showed pictures of Dinkins’ maroon Impala to Johnson.
In redirect testimony, Johnson said that Brink did not give a definitive date for when he pulled the man’s car out.
FBI Agent James McMillan took the stand next. “We spent a lot of time trying to establish Mr. Dinkins’ location in and around the Quad Cities,” he testified. Investigators focus on people who were the last to be with the missing person, so they can be included or excluded as suspects, he told the court.
McMillan testified that he was not involved in the discovery of Breasia’s body. He became the primary case investigator on or about April 23, 2021. McMillan took soil samples from an “area of interest,” including the west side of 270th Avenue, within 100 yards of where the body was found, he told the prosecution.
The state next called Ian Saginor, a geologist forensic examiner for the FBI Trace evidence Unit in Quantico, Virginia.
He testified that three out of 10 soil samples were “inclusive” to dirt under the Impala.
Detective Evan Obert took the stand again and presented cell phone information that indicates Brink’s phone hit off a cell phone tower near the area where Breasia’s body was found.
Jennifer Pullen, a criminalist with the Iowa DCI crime lab took the stand after Obert.
In her testimony, Pullen described the video of the area on 270th Avenue. “In the back there, you can see the pond” and the remains were marked by crime scene tape. She said the brush was dense. The crime scene tape marked an area that encompassed the remains, she testified.
In closeups on the video, Breasia’s remains were visible. Pullen narrated the video, which showed the area where Breasia was found.
Pullen testified that the pond is visible in the photo above. She identified photos of several branches from the crime scene that had been marked. “During our debriefing, they mentioned that a machete may have been used to cut branches,” Pullen told Cunningham. “Jane Doe” identified the remains when they were collected, Pullen told the court.
Mark Poulos, a retired police officer and co-founder of the Big River Rescue and Recovery Dive Team, took the stand. Davenport Police Sgt. Geoffrey Peiffer asked for the dive team’s help to find evidence, Poulos told the court.
They assisted at the scene on April 3, 2021. They used sonar to assess the pond and a gun was found in the mud. They kept the gun, a revolver, in the water and handed it to detectives. Poulos explained that when you remove metal from water, oxygen hits it and it starts to rust. “Anytime you have rust, you have deterioration of metal,” he told the court.
Stephen Ebel, a member of the dive team, was next on the stand.
Benjamin Wilson, another dive team member, took the stand.
Wilson testified that he used an underwater metal detector. “You’re more on all fours crawling around,” he told the court. “I’m crawling around on my hands and knees.”
“I got a really strong tone,” he said, and he found the revolver.
This is a breaking story and Local 4 will have more details on today’s testimony as it becomes available.