More charges have been brought against ex-convict Joseph Oberhansley, who was arrested after breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s home, stabbing her to death, and eating pieces of her heart, lungs, and brain. Prosecutors have requested that a count of rape be added to the already-standing charges of murder and abuse of a corpse. The rape charge stems from new lab results performed on the deceased woman’s body.
The Courier-Journal reports that ex-convict Joseph Oberhansley has confessed to brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton, and then eating portions of her brain, heart, and lungs while out on bail that she had posted for him not even two months earlier. Joseph, an ex-convict, had previously served 14 years in prison for a manslaughter conviction in 1998, after he shot his then-girlfriend, 17-year-old Sabrina Elder, to death in Salt Lake City just days after the birth of their son.
Following release, Oberhansley began dating Blanton. The pair broke up after Blanton posted $500 worth of bail for charges of reckless endangerment placed against Oberhansley for a high speed chase with officers and resisting arrest. A little over a month after Blanton posted the bail, the police received a 911 call at 3 a.m. from Blanton, requesting police assistance as her ex-boyfriend was trying to gain entry into her home. Police responded to the call and found Oberhansley attempting to break into Blanton’s home. Police told the man to leave, but received a second call at 10 a.m. from a concerned co-worker of Blanton saying the woman had never made it to work.
Upon returning to Blanton’s home, police found that the back door had been entered forcefully and the woman was found dead in her bathroom. The gruesome scene indicated that in addition to being stabbed to death, parts of the woman’s heart, brain, and lungs had been removed and, apparently, eaten. Police found a plate with blood and bones on it where the disturbed Oberhansley had consumed his ex-girlfriend’s body.
After arrest, Oberhansley confessed to breaking into his ex-girlfriends home and into her bathroom, where she was hiding from him. He says he then stabbed her to death and used a electric jigsaw to cut open her skull and bones. He says he ate portions of her brain, heart, and lungs before leaving. Now prosecutors want to ensure that Oberhanlsey gets the death penalty, so additional charges of rape have been added to the case. Prosecutors say that lab results indicate that Oberhansley raped the woman on the day of the brutal murder.
According to Indiana law, juries cannot recommend a death sentence or life without parole unless they agree there is at least one aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt. If the new rape charge is added, Oberhansley would only need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of rape, burglary, or dismemberment, along with the murder, to be sentenced to death.
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