Lawyers acting for the man who murdered his ex-girlfriend and “ate her brain” say he shouldn’t be locked up for the rest of his life because he’s mentally ill.
In September 2020, a jury recommended a sentence of life without possibility of parole for Joseph Oberhansley after he was found guilty of the 2014 murder of his ex-girlfriend Tammy Jo Blanton.
But now attorneys representing Oberhansley last week launched a bid to have his original sentence set aside and have the case sent back to the trial court to impose a sentence of a specific number of years due to his severe mental illness.
Police said Oberhansley broke into Blanton’s home in southern Indiana before killing her, dismembering her, and eating several body parts.
Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said before the original trial that medical experts had assessed Oberhansley’s mental health and declared him “competent to stand trial”.
Police said that Oberhansley had confessed to killing Blanton, telling them that he had “cooked a section of her brain and eaten it”.
He later recanted his confession but one of the arresting officers testified that they found a knife and a brass knuckle device in his pocket that had blood and blonde hair on it.
Photos of woman's dead body in bath 'worse than horror movie' shown during trial
During his trial, Oberhansley asked for the death penalty, saying “I'm just so tired of dealing with all this stuff and being locked in this cage. I just want to be executed.”
Blanton's mother branded the 41-year-old "pure evil" as he was sentenced.
Speaking to the cannibal killer in court, she said: "I want you to look me in the eye and tell me you did not do this. You're just pure evil, and you're just lucky to be able to live out your life breathing."
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Before being arrested for Blanton’s murder Oberhansley had been free on parole for killing his 17-year-old girlfriend Sabrina Elder.
His lawyer Bart Betteau said after the original trial: "We don't feel justice was served here. We don't feel that that was appropriate for him.
"This was a mental illness case from the very beginning so to say we're troubled by how it came out is an understatement.
"I don't think it's any secret that Joseph didn't ask for mental illness, Joseph didn't ask to be the way he is, but he's still a human being and should be treated like a human being. So nobody's at fault here, including Joseph."
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