An Affair, Then Murder on an Iowa Hog Farm

Prosecutors allege Todd Mullis killed wife Amy in November
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2019 9:15 AM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2019 10:20 AM CDT
An Affair, Then Murder on an Iowa Hog Farm
Todd Mullis, 43, looks around the courtroom before the start of his murder trial on Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa.   (Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP)

(Newser) – On Nov. 10 of last year, an Iowa man called 911 around noon. Todd Mullis said he sent his 13-year-old son to check on his wife, and the boy found Amy Mullis in a shed at their Earlville hog farm with a corn rake impaled in her back. She was pronounced dead at a local medical center, and Todd told investigators that she must have fallen onto the rake. Two days later, Amy's death was recorded as a homicide. In a February article on Todd's subsequent arrest, the Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa Medical Examiner's Office noted that while the rake had four prongs, there were six puncture wounds in the 39-year-old's back. Todd, 43, went on trial this week in Dubuque for first-degree murder and faces up to life if convicted. The latest:

  • The Register cited charging documents that showed investigators discovered a series of searches on an iPad Todd owned made four days before Amy died. Among them: "organs in the body," "killing unfaithful women," and "what happened to cheating spouses in historic Aztec tribes."
  • As for the unfaithful part, Amy had been having an affair since late spring of 2018. Jerry Frasher, the 49-year-old field manager for the Mullis' farm, on Wednesday testified that he had limited communication with Amy over the seven years he oversaw the farm, but that changed by early June. It was then that they engaged in a sexual relationship, seeing each other about once a week, reports the Telegraph Herald.

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  • But a month later, Frasher says Todd questioned him over a phone bill that showed 100-plus texts between Frasher and Amy. He assured Todd they were just talking about farm logistics, and Todd spoke with Frasher's wife as well. "Two days later, he called us both back and apologized," said Frasher, who added that Todd asked that he stop texting Amy. The two switched to email, says Frasher, and last messaged at 10:14am on the day she died.
  • KCRG reports the state medical examiner also testified Wednesday and detailed additional injuries to Amy's face, hands, and knees. Dr. Kelly Kruse said the puncture wounds suggested Amy was struck at least twice with the rake. "Those four wounds went back to front, right to left, and downward. The leftmost also went back to front, right to left, but they went upward."
  • The Washington Post reports Todd's attorney isn't disputing that Amy was murdered. But in opening statements on Tuesday, Jake Feuerhelm said there was reason to doubt Todd was the killer.
  • Prosecutors say Todd didn't just kill out of jealousy and anger over the affair, but had a financial motive, too: If she left him, he could lose half the farm and millions in a divorce settlement.
  • Patricia Christopherson, a friend of Amy's, testified that Amy confided in her that she wanted to leave Todd but was scared of him, "and if he found out about the affair, he would kill her," per the Telegraph Herald. The Post reports some friends referred to Amy as "POT": that's "Prisoner of Todd." And Amy's brother on Tuesday testified that she told him a few months before her death she intended to file for divorce once the season's crop had been harvested.
  • KMCH reports the trial is expected to last through the end of the week.
(Read more murder stories.)

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