Joseph Oberhansley, a 36-year-old Indiana man, has been deemed incompetent to stand trial for the alleged rape, murder, and cannibalism of his ex-girlfriend. According to prosecutors, Oberhansley forcibly broke into the residence of his ex-girlfriend, 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton, back in September of 2014. Once inside, investigators claim that the Indiana man sexually assaulted her, stabbed her to death, and ate parts of her brain, lungs, and heart.
As Daily Mail reports, Clark County Circuit Court Judge Vicki Carmichael listened to the sworn testimony of three doctors who individually evaluated Oberhansley on Wednesday before ruling that the Indiana murder suspect is legally incompetent. The evaluation of the defendant’s mental state was ordered after a February motion filed by Oberhansley’s defense lawyers. At the time, the attorneys claimed that the Indiana man was incapable of understanding what was happening in court and that he lacked the mental facilities to help with his own defense. According to his own attorneys, their legal communication with the Indiana murder suspect had suffered a “complete breakdown.”
“He is suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative, and agitated.”
Despite the Wednesday ruling, which will allow the state to subject Oberhansley to a regimen of “competency restoration” treatments, Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull has vowed that the Indiana murder suspect will eventually face trial for the unthinkable crimes he is alleged to have committed.
As WHAS 11 reports, Prosecutor Mull was “upset” by the Wednesday ruling, not just for himself and Indiana authorities, but also for the family of the victim who will now find justice in the unthinkable case delayed. According to Mull, it may take as long as 90 days to get the Indiana murder suspect into the Indiana State Hospital. From there, it may take 90 more days for Oberhansley’s competence to be re-evaluated, and any necessary mental health treatment required to “restore competence” to the Indiana murder suspect will take even longer still.
“Seeing what the family goes through, the family of the victim, I know the delays in the case are very hard for them to accept and that’s understandable.”
The family of victim Tammy Jo Blanton remained silent during Wednesday’s hearing and were made aware that it could be another six months (possibly more) before a full mental health evaluation/update is made available. The evaluations during this week’s court proceedings remain sealed. Indiana murder suspect Joseph Oberhansley faces murder, rape, and abuse of a corpse charges and remains behind bars pending trial and/or release to the Indiana state hospital.
If convicted, Oberhansley faces a potential death sentence. According to Prosecutor Mull, the death penalty is something that is only appropriate for crimes deemed “the worst of the worst,” a description he applies to the murder of Tammy Jo Blanton.
“They say the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst and I can tell you that in my career as a prosecutor, this is one of those worst of the worst cases.”
Joseph Oberhansley has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence of the crimes he’s been charged with. When being led into court Wednesday, the Indiana murder suspect reportedly spoke of his innocence and claimed to be “outraged by these false charges against me.”
[Featured Image by Clark County Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]