Trial for Earlville man accused of using rake to kill wife goes to jury

Todd Mullis watches testimony while on trial for first-degree murder on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019...
Todd Mullis watches testimony while on trial for first-degree murder on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 (Randy Dircks/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Sep. 19, 2019 at 7:22 PM CDT
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The trial for a man accused of using a rake to kill his wife is now in the hand of a jury. Deliberations have ended for Friday and will now continue on Monday.

Todd Mullis, 43, of Earlville, is charged with first-degree murder after his wife, Amy, was found dead with a corn rake in her back last November.

Mullis claims he didn't do it.

Mullis testified on Thursday and gave statements against evidence the state brought to the jurors. One piece of evidence included Google searches from an iPad, which included queries like, ‘killing unfaithful women.’

Mullis explained his whole family used the device and that he and Amy would watch historical shows together, in which after, they would research more information on the topics together.

There were also searches for the man who Amy had been having an affair with the summer before her death in the fall.

On Wednesday, witnesses described how a few years ago Mullis requested Amy leave her job as a nurse at the Manchester hospital after her first affair at that time.

Thursday, Mullis told jurors that Amy wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and spend more time with her family.

“At that time I built another hog barn to supplement our income so she could move forward with quitting her job,” Mullis said. He told the court how he met his wife at the Delaware County Fair and what life on the farm was like together.

Amy had outpatient surgery in the days before her death. Mullis said that during the last day of her life, she was dizzy when they were working in a hog barn and he told her to go back to the house.

A little while later, he described hearing his son yell when he found Amy with the rake in her back in a different shed on the farm.

"I seen Amy hunched up, face down, laying up next to the door,” said Mullis. “Did she have this corn fork stuck in her?” asked Mullis’ attorney. “Ya,” Mullis responded. “I just dove down by her, put my head down, I was like, ‘Amy, Amy,’ trying to yell at her trying to get her attention. I didn’t know what to think,” Mullis said. “I just wanted to help her.”

Mullis testified that she must have fallen. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations Special Agent Jon Turbett, who interviewed Mullis six days after Amy’s death, said that investigators were convinced it was a homicide, not an accident.

Turbett cited the autopsy results, which indicated the corn rake had been impaled at least twice in different directions. He also described the conversation that he had with Mullis in the hours-long conversation less than a week after her death.

“I proceed for the next 35-plus minutes to tell him the evidence is very clear, in fact, it is a homicide, and ‘You killed Amy,’ said Turbett. “[Mullis] says, ‘How?’ and he says, ‘What evidence do you have?’ and, ‘You tell me what the police know,’ but never, ‘No, I didn’t kill my wife.”