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Joseph Oberhansley is escorted through the halls of the Clark County Courthouse before entering into Circuit Court No. 4 for his final pretrial conference on Monday. 

JEFFERSONVILLE — A man charged with the murder, rape and mutilation of his ex-girlfriend more than four years ago has requested more time in the case, saying he has discovered new evidence.

The judge denied the request Monday during a hearing in Clark Country and said the trial will start as planned on Aug. 19.

Joseph Oberhansley, 38, is charged with murder, rape and burglary surrounding the 2014 death of Tammy Jo Blanton at her home on Locust Street in Jeffersonville.

The defendant spoke adamantly in court Monday, saying he did not kill Blanton and that "it was two black intruders that entered the house that killed her."

According to court records from the time of his arrest, Oberhansley was inside Blanton's home when her body was found in the bathtub, covered with a tent. Parts of some of her organs were missing. Records show the defendant confessed to police that he had broken into the home, stabbed the victim and eaten parts of her organs.

On Monday, Oberhansley said that police are missing evidence, which he said he's recently found by looking through transcripts of interviews conducted during the investigation.

"I want you to see that I can prove everything," he told Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael. The judge, his attorneys and mother in the audience warned him multiple times about saying these things in open court.

"Prosecution is possibly missing the murder weapon," Oberhansley said. "I can't believe the detectives haven't uncovered this evidence."

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said after the hearing that the defendant's assertions that prosecutors don't have all the correct information is not true.

"We do have our evidence together in this case," Mull said. "We are properly prepared for trial and his attorneys are properly prepared for trial."

"All the parties are ready to move forward and have the trial concluded in August."

The purpose of Monday's proceedings was twofold. Part of that was to hold an initial hearing on the state's amended information filed Friday — a request for a sentence for life without parole.

In late June, the state withdrew its intent to seek the death penalty if Oberhansley is convicted because the prosecutor believes the defendant's mental issues could make it easier for the defense to appeal. Defense attorneys had planned to use the insanity defense, however Carmichael previously agreed to Oberhansley's request to withdraw it.

Both sides also discussed potential evidence from the week before Blanton's murder. Mull said there is evidence through text messages and friend and family accounts that Oberhansley had raped Blanton the week before her death and that she was afraid of him.

Oberhansley has not been charged with rape for the week prior to Blanton's murder, and Carmichael is expected to rule in the coming days on whether or not the evidence would be admitted during trial.

Bart Betteau, one of Oberhansley's defense attorneys, told the judge there was no physical evidence of rape from the week before the killing, and that whether or not Blanton had been afraid of Oberhansley is not relevant because it's not necessary to prove fear with the murder or other charges he's facing.

Oberhansley spoke up, telling Carmichael that these were "false allegations." He said the night before her death, police had responded to Blanton's home after Oberhansley had gone there to get some of his things after the breakup. He said she had ample opportunity to tell police about any rape, had it happened.

"Had any of these bullcrap rape allegations been true, she would have reported it," he said.

Mull said he's been paying attention to the things Oberhansley has said in court, and will draw on that if contradictions to his statements come up during the trial.

"I'm certainly taking notes of everything he's been saying," Mull said. Defense attorneys declined to comment following the hearing.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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