Jeffersonville man accused of killing, cannibalizing ex-girlfriend ruled incompetent to stand trial for now
A mental competency hearing has wrapped up for the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in 2014 and eating some of her body parts.
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A judge has decided the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating some of her body parts is not mentally competent to stand trial.
The competency hearing for Joseph Oberhansley started around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Clark County Circuit Court and ended about an hour later.
After hearing testimony from three doctors including a psychiatrist and two psychologists, a judge deemed Oberhansley incompetent to stand trial. Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull says he still intends to go to trial eventually.
"On a death penalty case it's a long road to get from the point of charging to the point of hopefully conviction," Mull said. "So when I filed this I understood it was going to be a long process so this is just the latest hurdle that we have to get over."
Oberhansley is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton, at her home in Jeffersonville in September of 2014, then dismembering her and eating some of her body parts.
Police say they discovered a gruesome crime scene when they searched Blanton's home and found evidence that Oberhansley cooked and ate some of her internal organs.
On his way into Judge Vicki Carmichael's courtroom Wednesday morning, Oberhansley said he was innocent and "outraged by these false charges against me."
Oberhansley is charged with murder, rape, and abuse of a corpse. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. He has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.
Oberhansley has a criminal past. He was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder in a 1998 case when he killed a different girlfriend and shot his mother. He was 17 at the time of the crime living in Utah. He was paroled in 2012.
His mother was emotional leaving his competency hearing Wednesday and expressed concern about directives from attorneys to avoid the media.
"They told Joseph never to talk to you guys, but he wants to speak," She said. "I want to speak out, I should be able to say something too, I'm the other mother right?"
A few weeks before Blanton was killed, police say Oberhansley strangled a man and led officers on a chase in Jeffersonville.
In an interview in 2014, Mull said Oberhansley should have remained in jail, but a mistake between the court and the prosecutor's office allowed his bond to be reduced from $25,000 to $5,000.
Oberhansley's competency will be addressed again in 90 days. He will be committed to a state hospital until he's deemed fit to stand trial, but Mull says it's possible Oberhansley could remain under psychiatric care indefinitely.
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