JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. —
Half a dozen current and former Jeffersonville police officers testified Monday in the murder trial of Joseph Oberhansley. Oberhansley, 29, is accused of killing and dismembering his girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton, in 2014.
Several officers told a jury they were called to Blanton’s home on Locus Street on Sept. 11, 2014, to do a welfare check after Blanton failed to show up for work that day. When they knocked on the door, Oberhansley answered.
Officers said they could see blood on his right hand and when they asked if he had seen Blanton, he said “no.”
Maj. Mark Lovan, now retired, testified Oberhansley seemed “nervous” and was pacing on the front porch as officers asked if they could pat him down. Other officers said Oberhansley refused to comply and had to be handcuffed.
Officers found a brass knuckle knife in his pocket, they said.
Several officers testified that Blanton’s back door appeared to have been forced open. One officer went inside the home and reported seeing blood on light switches and on several surfaces in the bathroom. She said she backed out of the home and then a team of officers re-entered. They found blood in her kitchen, on her walls and on her shower curtain.
Blanton was found dead in her bathtub.
Since his arrest, Oberhansley has maintained his innocence. On Monday, defense attorney Bart Betteau challenged the recollections of officers and questioned whether any of them believed Oberhansley was mentally unstable.
The prosecutor introduced dozens of pieces of evidence collected from Blanton’s home, including a butcher knife, steak knife and frying pan — all of which had blood on them. A detective also found a scroll saw as well as blood in the kitchen, bathroom and utility room.
The jury also heard testimony about what happened in the days leading up to Blanton’s death. Tessa Shepherd, one of Blanton’s friends and coworkers, testified Blanton told her Oberhansley raped her the previous weekend after a company picnic, but that Blanton “went along with it to keep the peace.”
“She was trying to get away from Joseph but did not want to tip him off that she was leaving,” Shepherd said.