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Breasia Terrell's mom reacts to guilty verdict with bittersweet emotions

The family gathered at the memorial for Breasia in DeWitt after the verdict was announced.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — 10-year-old Breasisa Terrell went missing a little over three years ago. On Friday, Sept. 15, in a Scott County courtroom, Henry Dinkins was found guilty of her kidnapping and murder, which happened back in July 2020.

He was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping back in May of 2021 after a nine-month investigation. Judge Henry Latham found him guilty on both counts.

News 8's Joe McCoy spoke with Breasia's mother, Aishia Lankford, about her feelings on the verdict. The family gathered at the memorial for Breasia in DeWitt, located near the pond where her body was found. 

While justice had been served in a legal sense, it was still a somber day for everyone who loved Breasia. 

"There is no amount of justice that can compare to what he took from me. He took everything from me," Aishia Lankford, Breasia's mom, said. "He broke me down, and he took a lot."

Dinkins' actions left a hole that no verdict can fill. That said, feelings of relief were also present today after the verdict was announced. 

"Today makes 1,163 days that we've been waiting for something," Lankford said. "I feel like I won those lucky lottery numbers because oh my god, I feel so good. I feel so relieved." 

Overall, Breasia's family is ready to close this chapter so they can move forward. 

"I can breathe again. Because he took that away from me, to be able to comfortably move around and be able to breathe," her mom added. "And now I can breathe again." 

Dinkins' sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m.

Case background:

On July 9, 2020, Breasia spent the night with her half-brother, D.L, at Dinkins' Davenport apartment. Dinkins is the father of D.L., who came home the next morning, but Breasia did not. 

Breasia was reported missing on July 10. Her remains were found several months later in Clinton County by two fishermen. 

On May 5, 2021, then-Scott County Attorney Mike Walton announced Dinkins was being charged with the killing of Breasia, on or around July 10, 2020. 

On June 16, 2021, Dinkins pled not guilty to Terrell's murder. 

Due to pretrial publicity, Dinkins successfully requested to have his trial moved to a different county on March 25, 2022. On April 20, 2023, the Iowa Supreme Court made the decision to move the trial to Linn County. 

Dinkins also changed lawyers following a breakdown of the attorney-client relationship. The day that jury selection was set to begin in Linn County on Aug. 8, Dinkins waived his right to a jury trial. That brought the case back to Scott County for a bench trial under Judge Henry Latham. 

Proceedings in Scott County began two days later on Aug. 10. Witnesses testified and evidence was presented over the course of 14 days, with closing arguments wrapping up on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

To read the full court blog that summarizes each day of the trial, click here.

Watch the trial in its entirety on News 8's YouTube channel

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