An Indiana man behind bars for killing and eating parts of his ex-girlfriend after dismembering her has appealed his life sentence.

Joseph Oberhansley of Jeffersonville was sentenced to life without parole in 2020 for the 2014 murder of his ex-girlfriend Tammy Jo Blanton.

Police said the 46-year-old victim’s body was found at her home on Sept. 11, 2014, with more than 25 sharp force injuries and multiple blunt force injuries.

In Oberhansley’s appeal brief filed in late May, it says he suffers from severe mental health illness that caused him to “become so detached from reality that he thought he had to kill Tammy and eat her organs to achieve a higher level of consciousness and strength.”

Tammy Jo Blanton

Oberhansley’s mental health was a topic of debate during the pre-trial stage of his case.

He was originally deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial in October 2017 then was deemed competent in 2018 after a psychiatrist at Logansport State Hospital said Oberhansley’s mental health had been restored.

The defense and prosecution reached an agreement in 2019 in which they agreed to take the death penalty off the table if Oberhansley’s mental health or insanity would not be used as a defense.

A mistrial was declared in his original murder after a witness brought up Oberhansley’s past drug use and time in prison. A judge thought that information would prejudice the jury.

Oberhansley had spent 13 years in prison for killing another former girlfriend and shooting his mother when he was 17 years old.

He was convicted in 2020 after his second trial. A jury found him guilty for murdering and robbing Tammy Jo Blanton. He was found not guilty on a count of rape.

Oberhansley’s appeal brief says “sentencing him to serve the remainder of his life in prison is inappropriate.”

His defense is appealing a judge to recommend a term of years instead of the sentence of life
imprisonment without parole.

Court records show he is currently serving his life sentence at the New Albany Castle Psychiatric Unit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.