JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana – A southeastern Indiana man admitted to police officers that he fatally stabbed his girlfriend and then mutilated her body, including cooking and eating some of her organs, according to police documents released Monday.
Joseph Oberhansley, 33, of Jeffersonville appeared in court Monday, where he was formally charged with murder in the death of Tammy Blanton, 46. He also was charged with abuse of a corpse and breaking and entering.
Oberhansley denied the allegations against him and told Judge Vicki Carmichael he’s not the man police say he is, claiming that his name is Zeus Brown, the News and Tribune and The Courier-Journal reported.
“You’ve got the wrong guy,” said Oberhansley, who also told the judge he didn’t need an attorney because he was innocent.
Public defender Jeffrey Stonebraker was appointed to represent Oberhansley. Stonebraker did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he doesn’t believe Oberhansley’s statements.
There’s “no doubt in my mind” he did this, Mull told The Courier-Journal.
According to a probable cause affidavit, police were called to Blanton’s home twice last Thursday. The first time was at 2:50 a.m.; Oberhansley was upset he couldn’t get inside the home he shared with Blanton because she had changed the locks. Police said they told Oberhansley to leave.
They returned to the home shortly after 10 a.m. after a co-worker reported Blanton hadn’t shown up for work. Police said Oberhansley answered the front door and said he didn’t know where Blanton was. Police said in the affidavit that they saw what appeared to be a fresh injury to his hand.
Police said he had a pocket knife in his back pocket with blood on it. An officer reported seeing blood in several places in the house, then found a large amount of blood in the bathroom with fabric draped over the tub. Another officer lifted the fabric and found Blanton’s body, according to the affidavit.
Detectives and a deputy coroner were called to the scene. The deputy coroner said a large portion of the woman’s brain and her heart were missing.
Police said Oberhansley initially denied knowing what happened to Blanton’s body but later said he broke into the home and into the bathroom where she had locked herself, the affidavit said. He said he struck her several times with a knife and used a jigsaw to cut open her skull, according to the affidavit.
He told police he ate her heart, and parts of her lung and brain, the affidavit says.
He was ordered held without bond last week.
Authorities say Oberhansley was convicted of manslaughter in the 1998 shooting death of his then-girlfriend, 17-year-old Sabrina Elder, in suburban Salt Lake City just days after the birth of their son. The prosecutor in the Utah case said during Oberhansley’s sentencing hearing in 2000 that the shooting followed a two-to three-week drug binge and that he probably wasn’t rational at the time.