What did Joseph Oberhansley do? Indiana man convicted for brutal 2014 murder of ex-girlfriend appeals life sentence 

Joseph Oberhansley was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend (Image via Theywillkill/Twitter)
Joseph Oberhansley was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend (Image via Theywillkill/Twitter)

Joseph Oberhansley, 41, convicted of murdering and dismembering his ex-girlfriend, appealed his sentencing for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In 2014, Oberhansley, a man from Indiana, brutally killed 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton inside her home. He is also accused of partially eating several of her internal organs.

During his trial in September 2020, the Clark County jury found Joseph Oberhansley guilty of one count of murder and one count of burglary. However, they did not find him guilty of r*pe.

Lawyers representing him filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Indiana to vacate his sentence and remand his case to the trial court on the grounds of Joseph Oberhansley being mentally ill.

Oberhansley is currently being held at Indiana’s Castle Psychiatric Unit.


Joseph Oberhansley's brutal crime an outcome of his mental illness?

On September 11, 2014, officers from the Jeffersonville Police Department responded to a call for a welfare check at Tammy Blanton’s home. After arriving at the location, they knocked on Blanton's door, where Oberhansley answered. They thought there was something suspicious about him, especially after one of them saw a cut on his hand.

However, to search the home, the investigators would've needed a warrant, which they soon obtained. That's when the horrifying scene unfolded in front of them, more so, when they found a "big bloody mound of something in the bathtub." It soon turned out to be Blanton with a number of stab wounds to her head, neck and chest. Most of her internal organs were also removed.

The victim had apparently called 911 several hours earlier after a disgruntled Oberhansley refused to leave her home. He is said to have been upset over their break-up.

Upon questioning, Joseph Oberhansley admitted to eating the victim's brain and trying to pull "the 'third eye’ out with tongs," according to police reports.

However, he later took back his statement and claimed that two men had killed Blanton and knocked him out. During his trial in 2020, he maintained the same defense when Clark County Prosecutor, Jeremy Mull questioned him.

During the same trial, a psychologist said that Joseph Oberhansley was "the most severely mentally ill person whose case she had reviewed."

Even his defense attorney Cara Schaefer Wieneke wrote:

"It would be easy to look at the horrors visited upon Tammy and conclude they were simply the actions of a monster. But doing so would be reductive, and this Court’s 7(B) review must look deeper. The Court must consider his actions in the context of his profound mental illness."

In his first trial over Blanton’s death, Oberhansley’s defense asserted that their client’s mental state was a major factor. While the attorneys wanted to put up an insanity defense, Oberhansley filed a motion to withdraw it even as he denied living with a mental illness.

However, this isn't the first time Joseph Oberhansley has been convicted of such a serious crime. In 1998, after killing his girlfriend and shooting his mother before turning the gun on himself. While he managed to survive, the bullet has apparently remained lodged in his brain.

He was convicted of manslaughter in that case and served 12 years in a Utah prison before arriving in Jeffersonville.

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Edited by Madhur Dave