The forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Amy L. Mullis testified today that the Earlville, woman was impaled by a corn rake "at least twice, possibly three times."

Dr. Kelly Kruse, of the state medical examiner's office, testified at the first-degree murder trial of Todd M. Mullis that the direction of the sharp-force puncture wounds to Amy Mullis' torso led her to that conclusion.

Kruse testified that four of the six puncture wounds documented by the autopsy procedure in Ankeny, traveled from back to front in a downward direction. Two additional wounds traveled back to front in an upward direction.

"She would have to be impaled by the rake at least twice, possibly three times," Kruse said.

Kruse testified that the cause of Amy Mullis' death was the sharp-force injuries to her torso.

"The manner of death was homicide," Kruse said.

Kruse also testified that the autopsy revealed blunt-force injuries to Amy Mullis' left jawline and in the areas of the knuckles of both hands.

Scrapes and bruises found on Amy occurred immediately before or during her death, Kruse testified. Some wounds on her hands could indicate defensive injuries suffered during a struggle.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Gerald "Jake" Feuerhelm, Kruse testified that although Amy Mullis' fingernail clippings were collected during the autopsy, Kruse did not know if any DNA evidence was recovered that might have indicated a defensive struggle.

The trial continues at 1:15 p.m. today after a lunch break.


Terri Staner, a close friend of Amy L. Mullis, testified this morning that her friend's marriage to Todd M. Mullis was at a crossroads as summer turned to fall in 2018.

"Amy didn't know how to go on with her life," Staner said.

Staner took the witness stand today on the second day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Todd Mullis, 43, of Earlville, Iowa. He is accused of fatally stabbing Amy Mullis with a corn rake on their farm on Nov. 10.

Staner testified this morning that Amy was having an affair and that rumors of it were circulating in the community.

"She was telling me, 'I'm still not sure what I should do,'" Staner said of her conversations with Amy. "When she very first told me about the affair, I was so angry with her. I said, 'You're putting yourself in a difficult place. He is going to kill you.' Todd is the person you don't mess with."

Staner testified that she tried to protect her friend while also avoiding answering questions from a concerned Todd Mullis. Staner said she did not want to lie to Todd Mullis.

"I felt like I needed to protect Amy because she needed time to decide what to do," Staner said.