An Indiana man, Joseph Oberhansley, has been found mentally competent to stand trial for the 2014 murder of his girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton. At the time of his apprehension, the 36-year old Oberhansley was found to be mentally incompetent in that he could not contribute to his own defense, and that it was unsure that in his state of mind he could understand the charges against him. Last October, he began undergoing mental health care treatment and evaluations at Logansport State Hospital, resulting in the current diagnosis that he is mentally fit enough to understand the charges against him and to participate in his own defense.
According to The New York Post, Oberhansley reportedly broke into the home of his former girlfriend, Blanton, in September of 2014. They then allege that he raped her, stabbed her to death, and then proceeded to eat parts of her brain, according to his confession at the time of his apprehension, as reported by The Daily Star. His trial is taking place in Clark County, with prosecuting attorney Jeremy Mull handling the case for the state. Mull stated that “this matter has been going on for four years now, and it’s high time that the victim’s family saw justice done,” in a post-hearing interview.
In a letter from the psychiatrist filed with Clark County Circuit Court, the attending psychiatrist found that after approximately 10 months of therapy aimed at restoring Oberhansley’s mental competence, he is no longer unfit to stand trial. In his court appearances immediately following his apprehension, he was prone to outbursts, and at times referred to himself as “Zeus” and asked that others do so as well, as per WAVE3. Despite that finding, Oberhansley has been maintaining he is both mentally fit and unfit. On one hand, fit enough to fire his attorneys and claim his innocence, but on the other, unfit to stand trial. He also levied claims that his counsel is using mind control techniques on him.
“They’re trying to control my thoughts. They’re trying to control my mind.”
Despite his protestations, Judge Vicki Carmichael ordered Oberhansley to work with his attorneys and be prepared for his next appearance in front of her on September 21. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, not only because of the Blanton murder but in part because he was on parole at the time the crime was committed for a previous murder of a teenager, as reported by WAVE3. During his last hearing, The Daily Star reports that Oberhansley requested to be executed.
“I’m just so tired of dealing with all this stuff and being locked in this cage. I just want to be executed.”