- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A man who authorities say was convicted in the 1998 shooting death of his teenage girlfriend in Utah and should’ve still been in jail has been arrested on suspicion of killing a woman inside a southern Indiana home.

Jeffersonville police found the body of 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton on Thursday after a friend called worried about her welfare.

Detective Todd Hollis told the News and Tribune she died from violence he wouldn’t describe and that her body was found in a bathroom beneath a tarp. Police arrested Joseph Oberhansley, 33, on a preliminary charge of murder and he was jailed without bond.

Blanton and Oberhansley lived together in the city just north of Louisville, Kentucky, neighbor Ryan Spitznagel told WLKY-TV.

Oberhansley was released from a Utah prison in 2012 after serving a sentence for manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Sabrina Elder in suburban Salt Lake City just days after the birth of their son.

Oberhansley was already facing charges of criminal recklessness and resisting arrest in Clark County after leading Jeffersonville police in July on a nearly 40-minute, slow-speed chase that ended in Louisville, where he was arrested.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he had Oberhansley’s bond set at $25,000 cash only. But Oberhansley was able to leave jail days later after a bond reduction allowed his release after a payment of $505, the News and Tribune reported.

Mulls said that bond reduction was done without his knowledge and that he expected the prosecutor’s office to investigate how that was allowed to happen.

“I will tell you that I am devastated that he was released from jail,” he told WLKY. “It was my opinion from the beginning that he needed to stay in jail. That’s why I asked for this high cash bond.”

The Associated Press left a telephone message Friday seeking comment from Niles Driskell, Oberhansley’s defense attorney on the police chase charges.

The prosecutor in the Utah case said during Oberhansley’s sentencing hearing in 2000 that the shooting of his girlfriend followed a two-to three-week drug binge and that he probably wasn’t rational at the time.

Authorities said that Oberhansley entered his grandmother’s West Valley City home, pulled a handgun from a sack and shot Elder five times. When Oberhansley’s mother threw herself on top of Elder to protect her, she was shot in the back and arm.

Then Oberhansley put the gun to his chin and fired a bullet that entered the frontal lobe of his brain, leaving him unconscious for a day and causing some loss of mental function.



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