Iowa pig farmer convicted of killing wife with corn rake gets life in prison

MANCHESTER, Iowa — An Iowa pig farmer, convicted last year of killing his wife by impaling her multiple times with a corn rake, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.

Todd M. Mullis, 44, of Earlville, was sentenced Friday by Iowa District County Judge Thomas Bitter at the Delaware County Courthouse, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported.

Mullis was convicted in September 2019 of first-degree murder in the death of Amy Mullis, 39, at the couple’s farm in November 2018, the newspaper reported. According to prosecutors, Todd Mullis stabbed his wife in a rage over an extramarital affair and her desire for a divorce.

Mullis maintained his innocence during his sentencing hearing, KWWL reported.

“This is supposed to be America where you have a fair chance of proving your innocence,” Mullis told Bitter. “I thought it was innocent until proven guilty. I feel this was the other way around.”

Aaron Hamrock, Mullis’ attorney, said his client will appeal the decision, the Telegraph Herald reported.

Amy Mullis’ family members embraced after the sentence was handed down, KWWL reported.

“Fortunately today we were able to get across the finish line and get justice for Amy,” Delaware County Prosecuting Attorney John Bernau told the television station. “Hopefully, this is going to provide some closure.”

Bernau said he and his wife knew the Mullis family personally.

“My wife had worked with Amy, I’d gone to her 30th birthday party out at their farm,” Bernau told KWWL. “She was a kind woman.”

Bernau argued during the six-day trial that Todd Mullis had thought about killing his wife for years, the Telegraph Herald reported last year. The couple had been married since 2004, according to Amy Mullis’ obituary.

Court TV carried the trial live. The television program described a corn rake as a tool similar to a pitchfork that is used by farmers to scoop up corn. The case, which garnered national attention, led a judge to order a change of venue from Delaware County to Dubuque County.

Kelly Kruse, a forensic pathologist, testified that Amy Mullis was impaled by the rake “at least twice, possibly three times,” according to The Associated Press. Amy Mullis also suffered injuries to her face, hands and knees, Kruse said.

Mullis’ sentencing hearing was postponed four times because of restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Telegraph Herald reported.

Bernau said the case has not shaken Delaware County, but caused a great deal of interest because Todd Mullis is a farmer,

“Farmers work very hard for what they have, and they don’t want to lose it,” Bernau told the newspaper. “Some farmers … seem to go to great lengths.”

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