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Man accused of murdering and eating his ex-girlfriend ruled mentally fit to stand trial

Independent Staff
Joseph Oberhansley charged with murder, rape and abuse of a corpse in slaying of 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton: Facebook

A man accused of killing his former girlfriend and eating parts of her body has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial by a state psychiatrist.

Joseph Oberhansley has been in prison in September 2014, when his ex-girlfriend Tammy Jo Blanton was found dead in her home in Jeffersonville, in the US state of Indiana.

Mr Oberhansley is accused of breaking into Ms Blanton’s house, raping her, stabbing her to death, then sawing her head and body open to eat her brain, heart and lungs.

Despite the state psychiatrist’s decision, Mr Oberhansley’s competency can still be contested by his defence lawyers, according to prosecutors.

His fitness for trial has been questioned since his defence team requested an psychiatric assessment in February 2017, noting he was “suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative and agitated”.

A judge consulted psychiatrists and ruled he was not competent in October 2017.

Mr Oberhansley said at a hearing on Thursday he wanted to fire his lawyers, claiming they were trying to “control” his mind, local news outlet the Courier Journal reported.

The defendant claimed two other men killed Ms Blanton, as he did during a police interview in 2014.

“I’m just so tired of dealing with all this stuff and being locked in this cage,” he said, ”I just want to be executed.”

Prosecuting attorney for Clark County Jeremy Mull asked the judge to set a date for a trial in the next six months, but the defence asked for a month-long delay before a trial is scheduled. The next hearing in the case was set for 21 September.

Mr Oberhansley is charged with murder, burglary and rape and faces up to the death penalty if convicted.