Witness statement leads to mistrial in cannibalism murder case

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE/Gray News) – A judge has declared a mistrial in the trial of a man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and then eating parts of her body after testimony from a witness gave information the jury wasn’t suppose to hear.

Joseph Oberhansley is accused of killing his girlfriend and eating part of her body. (Source: WAVE/Gray News)

Joseph Oberhansley is charged with killing Tammy Jo Blanton, 46, on Sept. 11, 2014 in her Jeffersonville home. Blanton’s body was found in her bathtub by police sent to check on her welfare after co-workers became concerned when she didn’t show up for work.

Oberhansley admitted to eating parts of Blanton's brain and other organs during an interview with police.

During testimony today, Donna Victoria said Blanton called her the Monday before her death and had come to her home to stay for a few days. Victoria testified that Blanton told her Oberhansley had held Blanton hostage all weekend and had raped her.

According to Victoria, Blanton said she did not call police because she didn’t want Oberhansley to go back to prison. She also said Blanton had mentioned previous drug use by Oberhansley.

The statement about Oberhansley's criminal past and drug use led to an immediate halt to the proceedings because jurors were not suppose to hear evidence of that nature.

The 16 member jury from Hamilton County was removed from the courtroom as attorneys argued Judge Vicki Carmichael about what needs to happen now. Prosecutors are asking for court to admonish the jury while defense attorneys sought a mistrial.

Judge Carmichael has set a new trial date for Tuesday, Sept. 3. It is not immediately known from which county the new jury will be selected.

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Read the original version of this article at wave3.com.