Utah ex-con charged with murdering ex-girlfriend, eating parts of her body

Posted at 12:18 PM, Sep 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-16 14:32:48-04

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – A Utah ex-con is now facing felony charges for the grisly murder of an Indiana woman.

Court documents also show he admitted to eating the woman’s organs.

Joseph Oberhansley, 33, is accused of the Sept. 11 stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton.

During an arraignment Monday, FOX 59 reported Oberhansley told police they had the wrong man and that his real name was Zeus Brown.

Maintaining the pseudo-identity, Oberhansley pleaded not guilty to murder and to mutilating a corpse.

“My name is Zeus Brown. I am no longer Mr. Oberhansley. I am Zeus Brown. Me,” Oberhansley said.

He was escorted out of court and he took his new identity with him.

“I don’t buy it. I think there is a motive and a reason for what you saw in the courtroom today and I don’t believe that he really believes that he is Zeus Brown,” Clark Co. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Jeffersonville police officers were called to Tammy Jo Blanton’s home on Locust St. just before 3 a.m. Sept. 11.

She told officers her ex-boyfriend, Oberhansley, was outside and refusing to leave after she changed the locks.

Officers said they watched him drive away before they left.

Courtesy: WDRB and Clark County Jail via WXIN

Courtesy: WDRB and Clark County Jail via WXIN

“I believe the officers that responded to that call, responded appropriately and took all measures that were necessary to ensure the peace at that time,” Todd Hollis said, Jeffersonville Police.

Just hours later police were back at Blanton’s home after a coworker called saying she didn’t show up for work.

Police went to check on Blanton and said Oberhansley answered the door.

Court documents state officers took down Oberhansley when he started to reach in his pocket.

Police said they found Blanton’s body in the tub covered by a vinyl tarp.

Officers said they found a folding knife in Oberhansley’s back pocket with blood and hair on it.

“After being a prosecutor for so long, you’ve think you’ve seen everything and this is one of those cases where I’ve never seen this,”  Clark County Prosecutor Steven Stewart said.

After Oberhansley was taken into custody, police said he confessed to killing Blanton with a knife.

According to documents, he also admitted to dismembering her body and acts of cannibalism.

Court records state that Blanton’s heart was removed along with her skull and part of her lungs.

The autopsy shows Tammy Jo Blanton died as a result of multiple sharp force injuries to the head, neck and torso.

“Particularly in a case like this where there is such extraordinary allegations of cannibalism, it’s got to make people in our community scratch their heads and say, ‘What’s going on here,’ and it does the same thing to me,” Stewart said.

Oberhansley is being held without bond and is due back in court Feb. 6, 2015.

Prosecutors said Oberhansley was free on parole after serving time in Utah for the murder of his girlfriend when he was a teenager.

Court records show he was convicted of killing 17-year-old Sabrina Elder just days after she gave birth to their son.

Records show after that incident he shot himself in the head but survived.

The bullet grazed the frontal lobe of his brain.

Last year he was also charged with strangling a man and resisting law enforcement after an incident at a bar.

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