Audio released from 1998 parole board hearing for man accused of cannibalism

Published: Sep. 17, 2014 at 10:59 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2014 at 11:42 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Audio from Joseph Oberhansley's parole hearing reveals the convicted killer's mental state after he shot his girlfriend, his mother and then himself.

On Dec. 9, 1998 Oberhansley was high on drugs and unprovoked when he walked into a house, pulled out a gun, shot his 17-year-old girlfriend, Sabrina Elder, his mother, Brenda Self, and then himself. Oberhansley and his mother survived, but Elder died. Oberhansley pleaded guilty to killing Elder in Utah 1998 claiming he was high.

"I can remember being real, real, real intoxicated from my drug use," Oberhansley testified.

 [PREVIOUS STORY: Utah police officer recounts convicted killer now accused of cannibalism]

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole paroled Oberhansley on July 10, 2012 after he served 12 years of a 15-year sentence.

Prior to his release, Oberhansley, his mother, Brenda Self, and the victim's family testified during a parole hearing on July 1, 2004.

During the proceeding, the parole board asked Oberhansley if he suffered brain trauma when he shot himself.

Oberhansley responded, "This is true."

[PREVIOUS STORY: Victim in Jeffersonville homicide identified, suspect previously served time in Utah shooting death]

When the parole board asked him how the self-inflicted gunshot changed him, he said, "I feel that it's kind of, it's really, made me, calm me down. Made me a lot mellower. It's made me to a degree, I feel, bit slower mentally," Oberhansley said.

Edler's family pleaded for him not to be released. No other hearings were conducted.

"A 15-year sentence just wasn't enough to begin with," one family member testified.

"The primary objective of the board is to protect the public. The board also has a duty to safeguard the rights of the victims. That is what we are asking for," another Elder relative said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Report: Accused killer admits to cannibalism]

Oberhansley's mother, still nursing pain from where she was shot in the back, continued to defend her son.

"I think the drugs had a lot to do with it," she said.

When Oberhansley was paroled he was allowed to move to Indiana to be supervised through the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. Utah Parole Board did not receive any reports of violations while Oberhansely was on parole despite run-ins with the law, including a police pursuit in Louisville. Now Oberhansley is facing charges of murder, abuse of a corpse and breaking and entering after police found Tammy Jo Blanton's mutilated body in her Jeffersonville home.

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