Prosecutor to seek death penalty in cannibal case

Joseph Oberhansley. (Provided Photo)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A prosecutor intends to seek the death penalty for a southern Indiana man who has confessed to fatally stabbing his girlfriend and mutilating her body, including cooking and eating some of her organs.

Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart filed his intent to seek the death penalty for Joseph Oberhansley in Clark Circuit Court on Friday, The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal and the News and Tribune reported Tuesday.

Oberhansley, 33, of Jeffersonville, is charged with murder and abuse of a corpse in the stabbing death of 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton on Sept. 11.

During his initial hearing in days after his arrest, Oberhansley interrupted the proceeding by announcing his name was “Zeus Brown” and told the judge, “You have the wrong guy.”

Attorney Mike McDaniel told the News and Tribune that he expects he will take over as Oberhansley’s counsel if the death-penalty enhancement is permitted. McDaniel said Tuesday that he had a 90-minute meeting with Oberhansley earlier in the day and that they had a “calm discussion.” He said it was too early to discuss any defense strategies he might pursue.

Oberhansley is being held in the Clark County Jail.

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.

Utah discharged him from parole on July 23, and on July 31, Blanton posted $500 bond for him on charges of criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement stemming from a car chase.

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