Public Safety

Eastern Iowa hog farmer sentenced to life in wife's death

Earlville woman was impaled in the back with a corn rake

Todd Mullis, of Earlville, looks around the courtroom before the start of the first-degree murder trial Sept. 18, 2019,
Todd Mullis, of Earlville, looks around the courtroom before the start of the first-degree murder trial Sept. 18, 2019, at the Dubuque County Courthouse. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing death his wife, Amy.

MANCHESTER — An Eastern Iowa hog farmer was sentenced Friday to life in prison in the death of his wife, who was impaled in the back with a corn rake.

Iowa District Court Judge Thomas Bitter issued the required sentence of life without parole for Todd M. Mullis, 44. He was convicted in September 2019 in the death of his wife, Amy Mullis, 39, on the couple’s farm near Earlville.

Mullis has maintained his innocence, and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that in a brief statement he told the judge, “This is supposed to be America where you have a fair chance of proving your innocence. I thought it was innocent until proven guilty. I feel this was the other way around.”

Prosecutors had said Mullis was furious that his wife was having an affair and feared he’d lose their farm if she divorced him.

A forensic pathologist said Amy Mullis was impaled twice and possibly three times with a corn rake, which is similar to a pitchfork.

The sentencing hearing was postponed four times because of restrictions related to the coronavirus.

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