Trial begins for man accused of killing ex, eating parts of her body

Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 15:05:14-04

Louisville, KY (WLKY) — The trial for accused killer Joseph Oberhansley began Wednesday in Jeffersonville. As he was led into the courtroom he once again proclaimed his innocence telling the media gathered outside that two black men had broken into his ex’s home and were responsible for the crime.

His day in court comes nearly five years after Tammy Jo Blanton, 46, was found murdered inside her Locust Street home in Jeffersonville. Blanton had broken up with Oberhansley and moved out of her home days before.

According to the prosecutor, Blanton stayed with a friend then returned home after work on September 10, 2014- telling that friend she was ‘taking her life back.’ When she failed to show up to work the next morning co-workers called her phone.

Oberhansley, according to investigators, answered, claiming to be someone else and at one point said Blanton was with her father. When a welfare check was done, police found Oberhansley still at her home. Police say he had a knife, covered in blood and hair, in his pocket.

The body of Blanton was discovered in her bathtub, covered with a tent. There was also evidence, according to investigators, her organs had been eaten.

In his opening statements Wednesday, Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull called the crime scene “horrific” and urged the jury to convict Oberhansley on murder, rape, and burglary charges.

Oberhansley interrupted Mull on two occasions, at one point telling him, “You don’t have proof of that.” The defense addressed the jury for just eight minutes, urging them to :look and listen” to evidence.

Brent Westerfeld, one of three attorneys representing Oberhansley, later told reporters, “We believe his decision making was a result of his mental illness and we believe that that makes this process unfair.”

But Mull said Oberhansley needed his day in court. “We were able to finally get a jury we think is fair and impartial and I’m thrilled they’re here,” he said of the jury that was selected earlier this week in Hamilton County.

Mull said he looked forward to getting justice for Blanton’s family, whom he said had been “so patient” during the five years it took for the case to go to trial.

The trial resumes Thursday at 8 a.m. and could last several weeks. The jury will be sequestered in Clark County during that time