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Joseph Oberhansley: Jurors recommend life in prison without parole

Indiana cannibal killed ex-girlfriend, ate parts of her body
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 9:45 PM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The jury that convicted Indiana cannibal Joseph Oberhansley of murder Friday recommended a sentence of life in prison for the 2014 murder of his ex-girlfriend Tammy Jo Blanton.

He will not be eligible for parole.

The 39-year-old was convicted of killing and eating parts of Blanton’s body at her Jeffersonville home in September 2014.

Oberhansley’s defense attorney claimed his client suffers from a mental illness.

Prior to the trial, prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table if insanity was not used as a defense. After Oberhansley was convicted of murder Friday, his attorneys asked for a lesser sentence because of an “extreme mental disturbance."

Two witnesses testified Monday: a psychiatrist and psychologist who have both evaluated Oberhansley over the years.

The psychiatrist testified to finding bizarre behavior in 2014. He claimed Oberhansley exhibited signs of mental illness, hallucinations, and extreme weight loss, all of which improved after they said he took prescribed medication.

Two court-appointed physicians also evaluated Oberhansley. Their evaluations found no signs of insanity.

On Sept. 11, 2014, police officers responded to a domestic disturbance around 3 a.m. at Blanton’s home in Jeffersonville. Blanton told the officer she had changed the locks and wanted her ex-boyfriend to leave the property. The officers later testified to watching Oberhansley leave.

When officers arrived at Blanton’s home later that day to issue a welfare check, they testified to finding Oberhansley outside looking “nervous.” They said he was non-compliant to a pat-down and was arrested. A bloody knife was found in his pocket.

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Joseph Oberhansley told reporters one thing as he left court: "Donald Trump is the greatest...
Joseph Oberhansley told reporters one thing as he left court: "Donald Trump is the greatest president in United States history."

Another officer went inside Blanton’s home during the arrest. She testified to finding the back door damaged as if someone had forced their way in. Inside, she told the jury, she found blood throughout the house, a tarp with tools on the ground, and Blanton’s body in the bathtub.

“There was blood everywhere,” she said.

A crime lab analyst who studied samples from Oberhansley, Blanton’s body, and the scene of the crime also testified to finding Blanton’s blood on a jigsaw, frying pan, pair of tongs, fingernail clippers, and a knife.

When detectives initially pressed Oberhansley about what they found at Blanton’s home, he said two other men must have broken into the house and killed her. He denied having contact with his ex-girlfriend that day.

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