Iowa Man Found Guilty in Murder of Missing 10-Year-Old Girl

DAVENPORT, Iowa — An Iowa man has been convicted on Friday in the murder of a 10-year-old girl, Breasia Terrell, who had been missing for eight agonizing months before her remains were discovered in a pond.

In a courtroom decision, Henry Earl Dinkins, 51, was found guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the death of Breasia Terrell. Her disappearance on July 10, 2020, prompted extensive searches involving dozens of volunteers and multiple law enforcement agencies. It wasn't until March 2021 that her body was found by fishermen in a rural area north of Davenport.

Sentencing for Dinkins has been scheduled for October 11, where he faces a mandatory life term in prison.

Prosecutors filed charges against Dinkins for Breasia’s death in May 2021, alleging that he had kidnapped her and subsequently shot her to death. At the time, she had been spending the night with her half-brother and his father, who is Dinkins.

Dinkins is a registered sex offender with a 1990 conviction for third-degree sexual abuse, which occurred when he was 17.

Judge Henry Latham delivered the verdict after a thorough review of the evidence. At times, the judge struggled to maintain composure, pausing during his decision.

“The court finds beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant was the last person seen with Breasia. He had taken custody of her, had no authority to do so and had removed her from the apartment from which he had authority to care for her with the specific intent to inflict a serious injury upon her,” Latham stated. “As a result of that removal, Breasia suffered death.”

Upon the announcement of the verdict, spectators in the courtroom erupted in cheers as deputies escorted Dinkins out.

During the two-week trial, the defense emphasized the absence of physical evidence, including the lack of blood or semen linking Breasia and Dinkins in the locations prosecutors claimed they were before her death.

Prosecutors relied on testimony stating that Dinkins’ roommate woke up at 3 a.m. on July 10 and discovered that neither Breasia nor Dinkins were in the apartment. They argued that Dinkins took Breasia to a location where he sexually assaulted and killed her.

Dinkins’ son later provided investigators with details about accompanying his father to a Walmart to purchase bleach and visiting a site that matched the description of where Breasia’s body was discovered several months later.

The trial had been relocated to Cedar Rapids after the Iowa Supreme Court granted a change of venue. However, just prior to the trial commencement, Dinkins opted to have the case heard by a judge, resulting in the trial returning to the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport.