Law and Legal

Man who cannibalized girlfriend declared mentally competent to stand trial

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(Clark County Jail)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – An Indiana man accused of raping, killing and eating parts of his ex-girlfriend’s dead body is now mentally competent to stand trial, a state psychiatrist said Thursday.

Joseph Oberhansley, 35, of Jeffersonville has been committed at the Logansport State Hospital since October, when a judge ruled that he wasn’t competent to stand trial for the 2014 killing of girlfriend Tammy Jo Blanton.

According to prosecutors, Oberhansley broke into the Jeffersonville home of Blanton in September 2014, and that he raped her, fatally stabbed her and ate parts of her body.

“This matter has been going on for four years now, and it’s high time that the victim’s family saw justice done,” Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Jeremy Mull told the Courier Journal after the hearing.

mentally competent
Joseph Oberhansley, 35, is accused of raping, killing and eating parts of his ex-girlfriend’s dead body. (Clark County Jail)

The letter from the psychiatrist filed with Clark County Circuit Court noted that Oberhansley’s competency has been restored since he was committed there last October to undergo competency restoration.

In some of his early court appearances after his arrest, Oberhansley had outbursts in court and said his name was Zeus, WAVE3 reported.

As a result, the accused cannibal was deemed incompetent for trial at the time. Yet today is a different story, according to the state psychiatrist.

However, even with the psychiatrist’s opinion, Oberhansley’s competency can still be contested by his defense attorneys, said Mull. This would then trigger a hearing after which a judge would make a final decision.

Oberhansley’s attorneys requested in court Thursday to have a month to talk with him and form an opinion on his competency. During the hearing, Oberhansley spoke up, telling the judge he needed to fire his attorneys, according to the Courier Journal.

“They’re trying to control my thoughts,” he said in court. “They’re trying to control my mind.”

Nevertheless, Judge Vicki Carmichael told him he needed to work with his attorneys. Consequently, they’ve scheduled another hearing on Sept. 21 to discuss the matter.

As he did during his police interview in 2014, Oberhansley contended two other men killed Blanton, and he asked Carmichael to read a handwritten letter, which was filed under seal.

“I’m just so tired of dealing with all this stuff and being locked in this cage,” he said. “I just want to be executed.”

Asked for comment after the hearing, defense attorney Brent Westerfeld said Oberhansley’s words “stand for themselves.”

Prosecutors have previously said they will seek the death penalty for Blanton’s killing. Before his arrest in 2015, Oberhansley was free on parole for a previous killing when he was a teenager, according to WAVE3.

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