Joseph Oberhansley

Joseph Oberhansley (Booking photo)

Jury Selection Begins For Indiana Man Accused Of Murder, Cannibalism

August 19, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Editor's note: This story contains graphic and disturbing material.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP/WWJ) - A murder trial is getting under way for a southern Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body.

Attorneys for 38-year-old Joseph Oberhansley and Clark County prosecutors began selecting jurors Monday in suburban Indianapolis, in the Hamilton County seat of Noblesville.

Oberhansley's jury selection was moved due to media attention and the extreme charges he faces. He's charged with murder, burglary and rape.

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

According to a report by the Courier Journal, Oberhansley answered the door for police offiers conducting a welfare check on Blanton after she didn't show up for work.

The woman's body was found in a bathtub under a vinyl camping tent; but pats of er heart, lungs and brain were missing. Officers also found a "plate with what appeared to be skull bone and blood" on it as well as a skillet and pair of tongs with blood on the handle, according to a police affidavit. 

An autopsy showed Blanton died of sharp force trauma to the head, neck and torso. 

The 12 chosen jurors and four alternates will be brought to Jeffersonville in Clark County for the trial and will be sequestered for its duration.

Oberhansley allegedly initially confesed during a police interview but has since proclaimed his innocence.

Oberhansley is a convited felon, having been releaesed from a Utah prison in 2012. The Journal reports, in December 1998, Oberhansley was high on meth when he killed his 17-year-old girlfriend. He also shot his mother in the back before firing a bullet into his head. He and his mother both survived, though the bullet remained lodged in his frontal lobe.  He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2000. 

Opening statements in his case are expected to begin Wednesday.