JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Accused Indiana cannibal and killer Joseph Oberhansley took the stand in his own murder trial Thursday afternoon, claiming that someone else killed his girlfriend.
Prosecutors say Oberhansley raped and murdered Tammy Jo Blanton in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2014, inside her Jeffersonville home. According to court documents, he allegedly removed, cooked and ate some of her organs before he was arrested.
But on Thursday afternoon, as he took the stand, Oberhansley told a different story. Instead, he said Blanton was killed by two men who were in her house when he arrived that day. He told the jury that the men knocked him unconscious. When he woke up, he said he grabbed a knife because he wasn't sure if they were still there.
He said one of the men had a gun -- and he saw one of the men stab Blanton with a knife.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull confronted Oberhasley, challenging his story.
"They stabbed her 25 times...but they only knock you out," he said. "Why?"
Oberhansley said he didn't know.
He admitted that he confessed to killing Blanton near the end of a three-hour police interview, but said he did so because, "I just started going along with detectives."
Oberhansley's testimony comes hours after he interrupted testimony from witnesses, causing Clark County Circuit Court Judge Vicki Carmichael to briefly clear the courtroom.
Oberhansley spoke out twice Thursday morning, saying the testimony of a former Jeffersonville Detective was speculation. Judge Carmichael cleared the courtroom for about 15 minutes before the trial resumed.
It's not the first time Oberhansley has spoken out during court appearances over the past six years. Last August during a pretrial hearing, Oberhansley addressed Carmichael, saying: "Your honor, I have a simple solution to all of this. My statements in the video evidence need to be suppressed."
In testimony earlier this week, a friend of Blanton's said Blanton told her Oberhansley raped her several days before her mutilated body was found in her bathtub under a shower curtain.
On Thursday, the detective was asked if rape victims typically shower or wash themselves after being raped, and that's when Oberhansley shouted out that the detective was speculating.
This is day five of testimony in the trial. On Wednesday a detective told jurors that most of Blanton's heart and brain had been removed. During the taped police interview, Oberhansley said he "ate her heart and it's part of me now." Experts said tests found Blanton's DNA in a frying pan and on a plate and utensils in her home.
The jury also heard that Blanton had blunt force injuries all over her body.
The trial is being held in Jeffersonville, with jurors from Allen County, because of the publicity the case has received since 2014. Oberhansley was originally scheduled to stand trial in August 2019, but it ended in a mistrial during testimony from the first witness. He was found incompetent for a second trial in January and sent to a mental hospital. It was later determined that his competency had been restored during a second stay there.
Oberhansley is charged with murder, rape, abuse of a corpse and burglary. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
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- Tammy Jo Blanton's friend begs for closure 5 years after brutal murder
- Judge declares mistrial in Oberhansley murder case
- Indiana man accused of murdering, cannibalizing ex-girlfriend claims he's 'completely innocent'
- Jeffersonville man accused of killing, cannibalizing girlfriend moved to mental hospital
- New trial date set for Jeffersonville man accused of killing, cannibalizing ex-girlfriend
- Judge: man accused of killing and eating parts of ex-girlfriend not competent for trial
- Accused killer Joseph Oberhansley tells reporters he's not guilty hours after jury chosen in trial
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