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DINKINS IS GUILTY: Judge releases verdict in murder of Breasia Terrell

Scott County Judge Henry Latham finds Henry Dinkins guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A Scott County judge has found Henry Dinkins guilty of the murder and kidnapping of Breasia Terrell back in 2020.

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

The hearing took place in a Scott County courtroom in Davenport on Friday, Sept. 15.

Dinkins' sentencing will take place Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m.

Watch News 8 at 11, The Current at 4, and News 8 at 5, 6, and 10 for complete coverage. The entire livestream is found below on this YouTube link.

The trial lasted roughly two weeks with the state resting its case only halfway through its original list of witnesses.  The defense asked for a motion of acquittal due to a lack of physical evidence, but the request was denied by the judge. Dinkins chose not to testify.

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Aug. 29, the state outlined its entire case against Dinkins and stood its ground on evidence concerns. They argued that while the evidence was circumstantial, it was overwhelming enough to reach a verdict. 

"The state asserts—when you consider the circumstances and you consider the purchase of bleach and the use of bleach—this child was sexually assaulted in this area," Scott County State's Attorney Kelly Cunningham said. "It became very clear to Mr. Dinkins that there was going to be no way for him to control this child. So, therefore, it forced him to take further action, which was the murdering of Breasia Terrell."

The defense's closing argument poked holes in the evidence presented by the state. They also accused the state of developing their theory too early in the case that Dinkins sexually assaulted and killed Breasia. 

"This is not a 'who done it.' This is a 'who proved it' ... I find it ironic there is not a single piece of physical evidence that Henry Dinkins sexually assaulted this girl," defense attorney Chad Frese said.

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, click here.

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