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Witness testimony describes tension in Mullis marriage

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – In the second day of witness testimony in the Todd Mullis trial, the jury was given an in-depth look at Todd and Amy’s Mullis’ marriage before her death.

Lies and infidelity were at the forefront of today’s hearing.

According to testimony from Amy Mullis’ friend, Terri Staner, Mullis was unhappy and felt trapped in her marriage. However, Staner said that Mullis had a plan to get out.

“She felt like she was strong enough to leave on her own,” said Staner. “And if that was the case, it’s not so much she would leave for him (Jerry Frasher) but she would leave on her own.”

Staner had been in contact with both Amy and Todd Mullis throughout the course of their marriage. She was aware that Amy Mullis had multiple affairs while still married to her husband.

Staner suggested that the couple seek counseling to reconcile. Todd Mullis had also reached out to her to try to understand why his wife had become so happy; his theory was that she became depressed or she was experience pre-menopause.

And while Staner supported Todd Mullis’ researched, she said on trial that she believed Mullis would use this information to convince his wife that she was “crazy.”

“Todd is just the person you don’t mess with,” said Staner.

Staner encouraged Amy Mullis to confess to her husband about her affair. However, Staner admits that she was concerned about Mullis’ safety.

“I did not want to anger Todd. I didn’t want to lie to him,” said Staner. “I wanted to give Amy time to figure out what she was doing. But, on the other hand, I was very fearful for her. I had mentioned several times that she needed to tell Todd what was going on with her step-dad with her.”

Another friend of Amy Mullis, Patricia Christopherson, testified today. She said that Mullis had expressed her fears towards her husband to her through text messages.

“She said she was scared of Todd,” said Christopherson. “And if he found out about wanting a divorce or having an affair that he would kill her.”

Christopherson suggests that Todd Mullis was financially controlling over his wife. She said that Amy Mullis had told her that she was not allowed access to any of the family’s credit cards.

Jerry Frasher, who had a romantic relationship with Amy Mullis, also testified.

Frasher said that he and Amy Mullis initially began communicating through text messages. However, when her husband confronted him about they suspiciously many texts they had been sending, they decided to communicate through emails.

Frasher and Mullis’s relationship continued up until the time of her death. Frasher and Mullis had communicated the morning before her death, where she told him that she planned on spending her day changing lightning fixtures in the family’s barn.

Frasher admits that while he and Mullis did not talk about their spouses when they were together, he did recall a time Mullis said that she felt like a slave in her marriage. Mullis also told him that if her husband were to find out about the affair that “she would disappear.”

Dr. Kelly Kruse, forensic pathologist for the Iowa State Medical Examiner, also testified in court. Dr. Kruse performed an autopsy on Mullis after the county medical examiner did not determine a cause of death.

Dr. Kruse determined that Mullis had suffered from four fatal puncture wounds to her chest cavity. However, during her examination, she determined that Mullis had been struck with the corn rake at least two, or possibly three, times.

Four of the puncture wounds entered Mullis in a downward position. However, the two other puncture wounds entered Mullis in an upward postion.

Dr. Kruse also suggested that Mullis may have tried to defend herself during the altercation due to some significant cuts and bruises on her hands. She removed some of Mullis’ fingernails to be submitted into the investigation. However, she is unaware if that evidence was used.

Dr. Kruse ultimately determined Mullis cause of death to be sharp force injury in the torso. Her manner of death was determined to be a homicide.

Ashley Scott

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