Jury selection begins for man accused of murder, cannibalism

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a southern Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body nearly five years ago.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 10:11 AM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a southern Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body nearly five years ago.

Because of the attention the case garnered in Clark County, which is across the border from Louisville, Kentucky, and is where the killing took place, the jury was being selected in the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville, which is about 120 miles (193.11 kilometers) north, in Hamilton County. After jury selection is finished, the jurors and alternates will be brought to Clark County and sequestered for the duration of the trial.

Prosecutors say Joseph Oberhansley, 38, broke into the Jeffersonville home of his 46-year-old ex-girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton, in September 2014, and then raped her, fatally stabbed her and ate parts of her body.

It has taken nearly five years for Oberhansley to stand trial partly because of questions about his mental capacity to assist in his own defense. He was hospitalized for more than six months at Logansport State Hospital after a judge ruled he wasn't capable of participating in the trial.

But last year, a report was filed from Logansport certifying that Oberhansley was competent and he was released back to police custody.

Oberhansley told the judge in May that he felt that using the insanity defense would in part amount to admitting guilt to jurors.

"I don't suffer from any mental illness," he told the court that day.

Clark County's former prosecutor had planned to seek the death penalty, but the current one, Jeremy Mull, told the court in June that this was no longer the case, saying in a filing that there was a high risk of the case being overturned on appeal due to Oberhansley's mental status and noting the high cost of capital cases. He also indicated that Oberhansley's attorneys agreed not to use mental health information in his defense, based on Oberhansley's refusal to use an insanity defense.

Opening statements were expected to begin Wednesday and the trial could last up to two weeks, WDRB-TV reported.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Kokomo
Mostly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 89°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 91°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 91°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 90°
The air will still be pretty bad this weekend with intense, humidity & a few storms.
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 763688

Reported Deaths: 13963
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1048591803
Lake567611029
Allen42619698
St. Joseph37234568
Hamilton37098426
Elkhart29678469
Tippecanoe23321230
Vanderburgh23086404
Porter19530327
Johnson18734391
Hendricks17994321
Madison13446345
Clark13429198
Vigo12779255
LaPorte12528224
Monroe12474178
Delaware11087198
Howard10599237
Kosciusko9729123
Hancock8699149
Bartholomew8228157
Warrick8020157
Floyd7961181
Grant7330181
Wayne7221201
Boone7137105
Morgan6878142
Marshall6320116
Dubois6255118
Cass6083111
Dearborn597878
Noble595290
Henry5939111
Jackson514077
Shelby508297
Lawrence4890127
Gibson460596
Montgomery453692
Clinton452355
DeKalb451185
Harrison449476
Whitley413945
Huntington411581
Steuben409560
Miami403773
Jasper399355
Knox387091
Putnam383462
Wabash366983
Adams350456
Ripley350471
Jefferson340386
White338854
Daviess3084100
Wells301981
Greene292085
Decatur291492
Fayette285864
Posey280235
Scott277458
LaGrange276772
Clay272548
Washington252037
Randolph246283
Jennings237549
Spencer237231
Fountain233150
Starke229759
Owen220959
Sullivan218643
Fulton207445
Jay202832
Carroll196122
Orange190556
Perry189039
Vermillion179544
Rush176927
Franklin171635
Tipton171447
Parke153116
Pike140934
Blackford137732
Pulaski122848
Newton122136
Benton108915
Brown105443
Crawford104816
Martin92515
Warren87515
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58111
Unassigned0428

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events