Joseph Oberhansley, an Indiana native, was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse after killing and eating parts of his ex-girlfriend. Prosecutors have asked that rape be added to his charges.
Daily Mail reported that Oberhansley admitted to police that he stabbed 46-year-old Tammy Jo Harbin Blanton to death last September. He said that he then cooked and ate parts of her brain, heart and lungs. Now, prosecutor Jeremy Mull told the News and Tribune, "What I'm alleging is that he did rape that victim in the course of that homicide."
Mull added: "I think that during the course of the autopsy, we took some steps to determine whether or not there had been a sexual assault, and as the investigation's continued, it became clear to us that it did, so we amended the charge."
Oberhansley was convicted in 1998 of shooting and killing his 17-year-old girlfriend in Salt Lake City a few days after she gave birth to their son. He was in jail for 14 years for the crime and was released in July last year. He is now 34.
According to police reports, Blanton called police at 3 a.m. on September 11, 2014, to report that her ex-boyfriend was outside of her home and refused to leave. Police responded to the call and forced Oberhansley to leave.
However, later that morning a coworker called police to report that Blanton had not showed up for work. The coworker asked that police check on Blanton’s status.
According to The Courier-Journal, police questioned Oberhansley about Blanton’s whereabouts. They noticed a fresh cut on his knuckles and searched him for any weapons.
They found a blade covered in hair and blood.
Police then arrived at Blanton’s residence and found the back door forced open. Inside, they found Blanton dead and wrapped in a tarp in the bathtub. According to police, the bathroom was spattered with blood.
The police affidavit read, “The front of the victim's skull appeared to have been crushed and brain tissue appeared scattered around the bathtub.” It also said that police found a plate covered with bone and blood and a skillet and pair of tongs covered in blood.
Oberhansley reportedly admitted to police that he forced his way into Blanton’s house and stabbed her to death. He described how he used an electric jigsaw to saw open Blanton’s skull and ate parts of her brain, heart and lungs.
However, when Oberhansley appeared in court back in September he said that he could not have possibly committed those crimes. He reportedly said, "That's not my name. Obviously you've got the wrong guy." He then claimed that his name was "Zeus Brown," and that he did not know his age or whether he was a U.S. citizen or not.
According to The Courier-Journal, prosecutors were looking for the death penalty before knowing about the rape. Indiana law states that at least one aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt must be present to sentence a prisoner to death.
A trial date is expected to be set by the end of April, The Daily Mail reports.