An Indiana man was found guilty of viciously killing his ex-girlfriend, then dismembering her and eating her organs.
The guilty verdict came six years after authorities say Joseph Oberhansley broke into Tammy Jo Blanton’s home and killed her on Sept. 11, 2014 and then ate part of her brain, heart and lungs, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Police discovered Oberhansley at Blanton's home that morning during a welfare check after the 46-year-old woman failed to show up to work. He had a bloody knife in his pocket and had left a skillet, a bloody pair of tongs and a plate that appeared to have body parts on it inside the home.
Her mutilated body was found in the bathtub.
Oberhansley, 39, claimed on the stand last week that two men had broken into the home, stabbed Blanton and knocked him unconscious when he stumbled upon the scene. The jury didn’t believe his story and found him guilty Friday of murder and burglary. He was found not guilty of rape.
The sentencing portion of the trial is expected to begin Monday.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said Oberhansley killed Blanton after she'd broken up with him and changed the locks on the home, according to local station WTHR.
“He needed to be in control and when she said he’s not anymore, he murdered her,” Mull said.
Oberhansley initially confessed to the murder after he was arrested, but later proclaimed his innocence. His defense team argued that the confession had been coerced and urged the jury not to make an emotional decision.
They argued that Oberhansley had never gone to the house to harm Blanton, and had only been planning to retrieve his belongings.
Oberhansley was the only witness for the defense.
“We are very disappointed about the verdict,” his attorney Bart Betteau told local station WDRB after the verdict was read. “We weren’t able to get our point across. We believe Joe was not guilty of the murder, and we believe Joe is not guilty of the burglary as well.”
Prosecutors, however, urged the jury to convict Oberhansley of the brutal crime and put forth a series of witnesses, including police officers, a forensic expert and Blanton’s friends and coworkers during the week-long trial.
“She suffered so many indignities that night,” Mull said, according to the paper. “She was terrified, she was stabbed, she was dismembered, she was eaten and she was raped. And the justice for each of those acts of indignities is important if it is proven. … It’s what justice demands.”
Oberhansley’s first trial ended in a mistrial in 2019 after a witness referenced his criminal past during testimony, which the judge ruled could have unfairly prejudiced the jury.
He had previously served 12 years behind bars in Utah after, at the age of 18, killing his girlfriend and shooting his mother, the local paper reports. Oberhansley also shot himself, but survived and was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in the case.
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