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Court approves Dinkins' request to change venue in Breasia Terrell kidnapping, murder case

The location of the trial has yet to be determined, according to court officials.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The trial for the man accused of kidnapping and murdering 10-year-old Breasia Terrell in July 2020 will be moved to a different county in Iowa following his request to change venue, according to a district court administrator. 

However, a new location has not yet been determined.

The public defender for 49-year-old Henry Dinkins filed the motion last Friday, March 25, according to online court records. District Court Administrator Kathy Gaylord confirmed the approval with News 8 via email on Thursday morning.

In the motion, Dinkins' defense argues that the "pretrial publicity surrounding this case has been extensive and pervasive."

The filing goes over a report created for the State Public Defender's Office by Personal Marking Research. The report was delivered to the defense in March regarding a change of venue study for this case.

The defense argues that the data obtained by this study "shows that in no uncertain terms a significant degree of prejudice exists in Scott County such that there is a substantial likelihood a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with jury selection from Scott County."

RELATED: QC community remembers Breasia Terrell 1 year after her body was found

The defense proposed the report as a new exhibit for the case on March 25. According to the motion, a questionnaire was created to "determine valid estimates of awareness level in Scott County" regarding the case to "assist in the determination of a Change of Venue motion." 

The study took a sample size of 408 people "who comprised a stratified random sample of potential Scott County jurors," according to the filing. The sample yielded an overall margin of error of +/-4.9 points with a 95% level of confidence. 

According to the filing, the study found that 38% of Scott County respondents say they have heard of Dinkins while 68% say they have heard of Terrell. 

"Significantly, 85% of the pool interviewed were aware of the case," says the motion. 

The study also found that 50% of those who said they were aware of the case listed the internet as their main source of information. Of those, 70% specifically said Facebook is their source. 

Lastly, the motion says the report found 47% of Scott County residents who were aware of any portion of the case or either Dinkins or Terrell reported that they had an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Dinkins. 

Of those people, 77% stated that they would find Dinkins guilty.

Des Moines Attorney Alfredo Parrish spoke to News 8 about the decision, saying those statistics give the defense an opportunity to receive a "fair jury pool."

"And what I call a jury pool that's not tainted by the news media," Parrish said. "It's generally what I call visual media that they will be looking at, and comments that were made on visual media. That's why they would want a non-painted jury pool."

When deciding where to move the trial, the court could consider a trial spot that's not in the same saturated media market, Parrish said. Other factors include comparing the communities the jurors are coming from, while also looking at the case scenarios that may have minorities. It's not required, but something that may be considered in the process.

"You might want to look at an area that, to some extent, will reflect that type of selection process," Parrish said.

RELATED: Timeline of Events: Henry Dinkins awaits trial for death of Breasia Terrell

Meanwhile, Dinkins' defense team has filed a motion to withdraw their counsel. The motion filed on Tuesday goes over the timeline of Dinkins' request for new counsel starting on Feb. 3 when he sent a letter to the court. 

On Feb. 10, Judge Henry Latham denied the request and ordered Dinkins' defense team to have weekly contact with him. 

Dinkins sent another letter to the court on Feb. 22 to make the request again, saying that he would rather represent himself. Before the next hearing, the counsel asked Dinkins if he still wanted new counsel, to which he said yes. 

The judge denied the request again on March 11 and denied Dinkins' request to represent himself. 

RELATED: Man accused of kidnapping, killing Breasia Terrell denied new lawyer for 2nd time

According to the motion, the defense team has attempted to contact Dinkins several times. 

"There has been a breakdown in communication between the Defendant and counsel," the motion says. "Based on the Defendant's refusal to communicate with counsel, it may be inferred that the Defendant is still requesting new counsel or requesting to proceed pro se."

Watch more coverage of this case on News 8's YouTube channel

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