NEBRASKA CITY – The defense rested Wednesday morning in the sexual assault trial of Nebraska City preacher Larry Mullins.
Mullins’ wife, Alice, testified that she was present in their house when one of the assaults was alleged to have occurred, but did not see anything to indicate the alleged victim’s account is true.
She testified about her 70-year-old husband’s medical condition and said he has struggled with mobility since he was afflicted with hip and back problems that date back to 2014.
Despite a 2016 surgery that left him in a “body cast” for four months, she said Mullins is unable to walk and get around like he used to. He uses a cane to help keep his balance.
In his closing statement, Defense Attorney Robert Schaefer told the jury that Mullin’s physical condition makes it impossible for him to have committed the acts he is accused of. Mullins is accused of picking up a sleeping girl and bringing her to the shower. He is accused of moving across a living room and hitting the girl, when she resisted his hand going under her shirt.
Schaefer said the girl testified to reacting to her attacker in a way that would likely cause him injury. Alice Mullins testified that she never noticed those types of injuries to her husband.
In his closing statement, Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag said the only person to testify at the trial, who had a reason to lie, was Alice Mullins.
Alice Mullins said she would not lie to the jury.
Alice Mullins: “I have a higher power to answer to and I do not want my soul to go to Hell. As a person who has been a victim, I would not allow that to happen in my home.”
Alice Mullins, who worked nights at a hospital emergency room before retiring three years ago, said she as attended church with Mullins since he became a minister 30 years ago.
Earlier in the trial, a second girl testified, that she sat down with Mrs. Mullins to write a letter recanting allegations of sexual assault against Mullins. Alice Mullins testified Wednesday that she did not ask the girl to write the letter.
Schaefer grunted when District Judge Julie Smith upheld a state objection to an exhibit purported to be a letter from the Otoe County Attorney’s Office. Mrs. Mullins said the letter was an explanation that no action would be taken due to sexual assault allegations in 2009.
The court had earlier denied Schaefer’s motion to call Otoe County Attorney David Partsch to the stand to explain why he did not file charges.