Indiana News

Jury selection begins for man accused of murder, cannibalism

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a southern Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body nearly five years ago.

Because of the attention the case garnered in Clark County, which is across the border from Louisville, Kentucky, and is where the killing took place, the jury was being selected in the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville, which is about 120 miles north, in Hamilton County. After jury selection is finished, the jurors and alternates will be brought to Clark County and sequestered for the duration of the trial.

Prosecutors say Joseph Oberhansley, 38, broke into the Jeffersonville home of his 46-year-old ex-girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton, in September 2014, and then raped her, fatally stabbed her and ate parts of her body.

It has taken nearly five years for Oberhansley to stand trial partly because of questions about his mental capacity to assist in his own defense. He was hospitalized for more than six months at Logansport State Hospital after a judge ruled he wasn’t capable of participating in the trial.

But last year, a report was filed from Logansport certifying that Oberhansley was competent and he was released back to police custody.

Oberhansley told the judge in May that he felt that using the insanity defense would in part amount to admitting guilt to jurors.

“I don’t suffer from any mental illness,” he told the court that day.

Clark County’s former prosecutor had planned to seek the death penalty, but the current one, Jeremy Mull, told the court in June that this was no longer the case, saying in a filing that there was a high risk of the case being overturned on appeal due to Oberhansley’s mental status and noting the high cost of capital cases. He also indicated that Oberhansley’s attorneys agreed not to use mental health information in his defense, based on Oberhansley’s refusal to use an insanity defense.

Opening statements were expected to begin Wednesday and the trial could last up to two weeks, WDRB-TV reported.

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Colder and quiet rest of the week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A good 20° swing Wednesday morning with temperatures in the lower to mid 20s this morning with feel-like temperatures in the teens. it will be a clear start then brighter heading through the rest of the morning and the afternoon! Sunshine won’t help us out too much in terms of temperatures today. Daytime highs should warm to the upper 30s. Wednesday night will be a cold one with lows in the lower 20s with a partly cloudy sky.

Thursday will be another cold one with highs struggling to reach 30°. It’ll still be a bright one with a mostly to partly sunny sky. A slow warming trend will start Friday with highs warming to the upper 30s with a mixture of sun and clouds.

This weekend will be split with a chance of showers arriving late in the day Sunday. Highs will continue to warm to the mid-40s Saturday with a partly sunny sky. Clouds return Sunday with showers later in the evening and overnight. Rain will continue through Monday. Tuesday looks to be a dry day for now then showers should return by midweek with highs in the mid 40s.

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