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Amber Michelle HILBERLING

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: She pushed her husband out the window of their 17th-story apartment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 7, 2011
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 1, 1991
Victim profile: Joshua Hilberling, 23 (her husband)
Method of murder: Pushing out of 17th-floor window
Location: Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years in prison on April 23, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Amber Hilberling discusses husband's fatal fall

By David Harper - TulsaWorld.com

May 18, 2013

Amber Hilberling told a national television audience on Friday that she still can't understand what happened the day her husband fell to his death from the couple's high-rise apartment at the University Club Tower.

Hilberling was found guilty March 18 of second-degree murder in connection with the death of 23-year-old Joshua Hilberling in June 2011. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The Tulsa case has long been the subject of intense local media scrutiny.

On Friday night, "Dateline NBC" devoted about an hour to telling the story, using interviews with Hilberling, her family, his family, attorneys, police investigators and even a window expert who opined on the strength of the glass at the distinctive apartment complex at 1722 S. Carson Ave.

The report also used footage of Amber Hilberling's tearful discussion with her grandmother in a police interrogation room, which became a key piece of evidence at her trial.

Hilberling said during Friday's broadcast that she remembers "very little" of what is on that recording, during which she said "I killed him" and admitted pushing her husband, who plummeted from a window on the apartment building's 25th floor to the top of a parking garage 17 stories below.

She said during the interview that aired Friday that Joshua Hilberling reached out and grabbed her shoulders. She said she "reached up and pushed against his chest."

"I remember him falling backwards," Hilberling said.

The show kept revisiting the question of how Hilberling, who was seven months' pregnant at the time, could have mustered the strength to send the much taller and more athletic Joshua Hilberling through the window to his death.

Jeff Felton, an investigator with the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, said on the show that he thinks Joshua Hilberling was doing something with a television when his wife pushed him.

"I think she shoved him on purpose. Absolutely," Felton said.

When asked to explain how a neighbor reported hearing the sound of running followed by a loud crashing sound, Hilberling said that perhaps what that person heard was the sound of her husband "tripping backwards."

Hilberling said she had "all the hope in the world" when her case was in the hands of jurors and indicated that she was surprised that they recommended a 25-year prison sentence, which was later formally imposed by Tulsa County District Judge Kurt Glassco.

Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Keely noted during Friday's report that the 25-year sentence corresponded to the floor on which the couple lived in the University Club Tower.

Still, Hilberling said she doesn't regret rejecting a plea deal that would have put her in prison for only five years.

She said she turned down the plea deal because a person who is not guilty is "going to take any risk that is necessary to prove it."

Hilberling said she was a "good wife" and denied being a violent person. She said she has never been in a fight in her life.

"Josh didn't have to defend himself," she said during the interview.

She said that during her marriage "I was definitely scared sometimes."

As for allegations by some observers that she was enjoying all the attention the case had brought her, Hilberling said "that seems ridiculous."

The report chronicled the couple's relationship from its happy beginning to the problems it soon encountered.

"We just slowly started seeing how different we really were," Hilberling said.

She described herself as a "wild hair" and said her late husband was more of a "modest, predictable type."

Felton, who was a Tulsa police detective at the time of the death, said on the television show that the two had a "volatile relationship - without a doubt."

Hilberling is appealing her conviction and said she is hoping for "something better."

 
 

Amber Hilberling Sentenced To 25 Years In Husband's Death

By Dee Duren - NewsOn6.com

April 23, 2013

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Amber Hilberling, the Tulsa woman convicted of second-degree murder for pushing her husband out a high-rise window, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. 

Jurors found her guilty March 18, 2013 in the death of Josh Hilberling and recommended 25 years.  On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the judge concurred.  The judge gave her credit for 15 months she has already served in the Tulsa County jail.

The judge also ordered Amber Hilberling to pay for Josh's funeral expenses in addition to a $10,000 fine. 

Prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum on April 22 noting that Amber Hilberling repeatedly admitted that she pushed her husband to his death on June 7, 2011. They say that although Hilberling does not have a criminal past, she "was certainly on notice that she and Josh had a volatile relationship and that she became angry and acted out violently toward Joshua."

Prosecutors also point to the "horrendous" manner of death - that Josh Hilberling was alive as he fell from the 25th-floor window until he landed on the 8th floor parking garage.

"Josh had seventeen stories to contemplate what was occurring," the sentencing memorandum states.

In victim impact letters, Patrick Hilberling, the victim's father, said as soon as he learned his son was dead, he asked if Amber was responsible for the death. Other family members wrote of how his loss has affected their lives.

In a brief filed April 18, Hilberling's attorneys ask the judge for mercy, saying that testimony at the trial clearly showed the death was accidental and that Amber demonstrated "shock, surprise, grief and anguish over the actions that led to death."

Attorneys April Seibert and Jasen Corns also asked the judge to take into consideration that both Hilberlings were barely out of their teens, made mistakes and brought "a baby into the world when they were really still babies themselves."

The attorneys also pointed out that the Hilberlings' son Levi, now almost 18 months old, would be about 22 years old by the time his mother is released from prison should she serve the full 25-year sentence.

The brief contains letters from Amber's supporters including her mother, Rhonda Whitlock. Whitlock says her daughter has been unfairly depicted in the media and says the late Josh Hilberling was thrown out of the military for drug abuse.

 
 

Push of death: Tulsa woman found guilty of murdering husband by shoving him through high-rise window

Amber Michelle Hilberling claims she did not expect her push to send her husband Joshua Hilberling through the window of their Tulsa high-rise, but the jury found her guilty of second-degree murder

By Sasha Goldstein - NYDailyNews.com

March 19, 2013

An Oklahoma woman was found guilty Monday of second-degree murder after she pushed her husband, an Air Force veteran, out the window of their 17th-story apartment in 2011.

Amber Michelle Hilberling, now 21, was seven months pregnant when she pushed Joshua Hilberling, then 23, through a glass window in their Tulsa apartment during a fight on June 7, 2011. Joshua Hilberling fell 17 stories to his death, landing on a parking garage.

Now with a young son, Hilberling couldn’t convince the jury of seven men and seven women that she pushed her husband in self-defense. Her defense team further argued she didn’t intend to push him out the window and that the glass in the apartment window, installed in 1966, was too thin for use in high-rise windows. She even sued University Club Tower in Tulsa for alleged negligence stemming from the "dangerously unsafe" glass, reported local newspaper Tulsa World.

So convinced of her innocence, Amber Hilberling turned down a plea deal that would have seen her serve only five years in prison.

But it took the jury only three hours of deliberation to find her guilty after a weeklong trial.

“It didn’t happen like she said it happened,” the World reported Assistant District Attorney Michelle Keely said during the trial.

Joshua was reportedly a hulking, 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound former football player and the couple had been married only a year. The short, tumultuous marriage was littered with incidents of Amber Hilberling’s violence against her husband, witnesses testified.

Joshua Hilberling had planned to leave and even had packed his bags, sparking the fatal fight. A month before his death, Joshua Hilberling filed for a protective order against his wife, claiming she had thrown a lamp at him, resulting in a cut that needed stitches and staples.

Even more damning was a video recorded at the Tulsa Police Department immediately after Joshua Hilberling’s death where his wife admits Joshua’s parents knew the dangerous path down which the union was headed.

“They kept saying if we stayed together, I’m going to kill him,” a bawling Hilberling was secretly recorded telling her grandmother.

The defense plans to appeal the conviction. Oklahoma’s second-degree murder law requires the prosecution to prove the act was “imminently dangerous” and “evincing a depraved mind.” Intent to kill is not required to convict.

The widowed murderer will be sentenced April 23 and faces a jury-recommended 25 years in prison.

"Justice doesn't bring Josh back," Keely, the prosecutor said, adding “Levi (their 19-month-old son) will grow up knowing there are consequences to actions.

 
 

Tulsa woman says she accidentally pushed husband out of 17th-floor window, blames thin glass

Amber Michelle Hilberling claims she did not expect her push to send her husband Joshua Hilberling through the window of their University Club Tower apartment in Tulsa, Okla.

March 15, 2013

By Michael Walsh - NYDailyNews.com

A thin pane may have led to thin ice.

The Oklahoma woman who admits to pushing her husband from a highrise window claims she never intended to kill her man.

Instead Amber Michelle Hilberling, now 21, laments that the glass in their apartment window was not strong enough to stop Joshua Hilberling, her 23-year-old Air Force veteran husband, from plummeting 17 stories to his death on June 7, 2011.

The woman even sued University Club Tower in Tulsa for alleged negligence stemming from the "dangerously unsafe" glass, reported local newspaper Tulsa World.

The defense attorney's opening statement made clear that Amber Hilberling will cite self-defense as her rationale for pushing Joshua Hilberling at all.

The court heard from several witnesses Wednesday, during the first week of her second-degree murder trial. The testimonies painted a picture of Amber Hilberling, who was pregnant during the incident, as hysterical and distraught.

"My husband fell out the window! I pushed my husband out the window! I killed my husband," she reportedly screamed after his death.

Armando Rosales, a glass repairman, went to the apartment after hearing the glass shatter. He corroborated Amber Hilberling's claim to the court that the large pane was in fact thinner than what is typically used in highrise windows.

The glass was reportedly part of the building's original construction and would have been thicker if built more recently. It was not much stronger than the glass used in standard home windows, Rosales claimed.

But Rosales also told the jury that he feared that Amber Hilberling might push him through the broken window after he entered.

 
 

Testimony continues in Amber Hilberling trial, wife accused of pushing husband from high-rise

Kjrh.com

March 14, 2013

TULSA - Testimony continued Thursday in the trial of a woman accused of pushing her husband through the window of their high-rise apartment in 2011.

Amber Hilberling is charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors say she pushed Joshua Hilberling from their 25th-floor apartment. He fell 17 stories and landed face down on the eighth-floor parking garage.

Hilberling filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2012, claiming the apartment had dangerously thin windows and her husband's fall was an accident; however, her defense attorney said during opening statements Wednesday that it was self defense and they did not deny Hilberling pushed her husband.

She said Hilberling is finally ready to tell her side of the story.

When testimony continued Thursday, three detectives who responded to the scene took the stand. They said nothing in the apartment seemed disturbed other than the window and there appeared to be no sign of a struggle in contrast to the defense's claim that the Hilberlings were engaged in a heated argument.

Medical examiner Joshua Lanter took the stand, who confirmed Hilberling's death was a homicide.

The defense criticized the lack of some evidence collection by investigators. They say police failed to test flesh, blood and hair that remained on the window sill for DNA. The detectives testified it could only have come from one person and the prosecutor added DNA wouldn't explain why Hilberling pushed her husband.

Prosecutors showed video and photographs from the scene Thursday, including the window and Joshua Hilberling's body. Hilberling sat with eyes lowered, never looking up to the images.

Inside the apartment was a packed bag full of Joshua Hilberling's and a partially empty closet, which the prosecution says supports the idea that he was leaving. Hilberling's cell phone was also found next to his body and not in his pocket, leading the detectives to believe he was attempting to make a call prior to falling.

On Wednesday, Hilberling's father testified his son called him the day he died, saying he was leaving and getting a divorce and he needed a ride, but Patrick Hilberling couldn't pick his son up at the time. He suggested he call DVIS (Domestic Violence Intervention Group).

Several other witnesses took the stand for the prosecution Wednesday, including a neighbor who testified he heard running and a loud crash, followed by a woman screaming, "Oh my God. Oh my God." When he went out to his balcony he saw Joshua Hilberling laying face down on the parking garage.

A second witness, a glass repairman who was fixing a different window in the couple's bedroom, said he heard the crash and moments later Amber Hilberling was screaming, "I pushed my husband out the window. I killed him." They went together to find Joshua Hilberling and when they reached him, he said Amber turned him over.

The prosecution also said there is a taped confession in which Hilberling says to her grandmother, "He was messing with the TV and I pushed him."

 
 

Tulsa Woman Accused Of Pushing Husband To His Death Rejects Plea Deal

By Brandi Ball and Tami Beyersdoerfer - NewsOn6.com

March 8, 2013

Tulsa, Oklahoma - A Tulsa woman accused of pushing her husband out of a 25-story window in downtown Tulsa has rejected a plea deal that would have sent her to prison for only five years.

Amber Hilberling, 22, who appeared in court on Friday and turned down an offer by prosecutors in exchange for a no-contest plea, will now stand trial before a jury in the second-degree murder case. The trial is slated to begin Monday.

Hilberling was first arrested in June 2011 for pushing her husband, 23-year-old Joshua Hilberling, out of a window at the University Club Apartments.

She was released on bond two days later, but that bond was revoked in December after she reportedly failed to keep her ankle monitor charged at least 10 times.

In January, prosecutors said Amber Hilberling violated conditions of the new bond after she failed two court-mandated drug tests. Amber Hilberling claims she smoked marijuana prior to the December re-arrest.

When she was taken into custody for the drug violation, a judge ordered her to be held without bond. She is currently in the Tulsa County jail.

In Oklahoma, a second-degree murder conviction carries a punishment of no less than 10 years and up to life in prison.

Among things discussed in court on Friday:

• Cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom during Amber Hilberling's trial.

• Jury will not see autopsy photos, but crime scene photos will be allowed.

• State will argue Joshua Hilberling fell out of the window facing forward, but a defense witness said he came out with his back first.

• Defense attorney also asked that the district attorney's office not be allowed to call Joshua Hilberling a victim during the trial. Judge denied the request, but said prosecutors can't do it much.

• The Hilberlings' toddler will not be allowed in the courtroom or on the same floor as the trial is taking place.

In September 2012, Amber Hilberling filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the property management company and University Club Tower's management and maintenance staff, claiming that they knowingly installed dangerous windows in the apartment.

The petition claims the window glass was not up to City of Tulsa building code and was dangerously unsafe. It claims the building managers failed to install window guards or other reasonable safety measures, which should have been in place around the thin window.

Hilberling's defense is expected to call on a building inspector, who will say the windows at University Club Tower weren't up to code, and that Hilberling couldn't have known what would happen when her husband fell into the glass.

Hilberling has claimed that she shoved her husband in self-defense and also that he tripped and fell against the window.

 
 

Tulsa Woman Arrested In Husband's Murder Claims He Abused Her

By Lacie Lowry - NewsOn6.com

June 9, 2011

TULSA, Oklahoma – The woman arrested in the death of her husband earlier this week claimed he had a long history of violence towards her.

Amber Hilberling, was arrested for murder after her husband, Joshua, fell 17 stories to his death at the University Club Tower on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Police said Amber pushed him and he fell out of the window on the 25th floor of his high-rise apartment.

Joshua Hilberling filed a restraining order against his wife for physical abuse at one point, but Amber Hilberling's attorney said Joshua was the real aggressor.

"I can say that we have seen absolutely no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing by Mrs. Hilberling," Jasen Corns, Amber Hilberling's Attorney, said. "This is a tragedy for everyone involved and what it wasn't was a crime."

Amber's attorney claimed the real crime is the abuse Amber endured at the hands of her husband.

"Without getting into specifics, there is a long history of this man, a 6'4", 220 pound college football player abusing this young woman, including throughout her entire pregnancy," Corns said.

Corns said police reports were filed at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, where the couple lived for the majority of their short marriage.

Lacie Lowry, News On 6: "Can you give any specifics at all as far as what type of abuse?"

Jasen Corns, Amber Hilberling's Attorney: "Physical abuse with witnesses, with photographs and documentary evidence that we have supporting it."

Corns spoke with News On 6 reporter Lacie Lowry after Joshua Hilberling's restraining order against Amber went public, outlining the continual physical abuse he says he suffered.

"This is a 5'5", pregnant teenage girl and it's kind of preposterous to listen to some of the things that are being said right now about how she can be an aggressor against a 6'4", 220 pounder," he said.

Counselors said it's not absurd at all."There is a number of men who are victimized by domestic violence," Missy Iski, Counseling Director at Domestic Violence Intervention Services, said. "And even more common than that are couples that engage in violence where both people are participating in violence."

News On 6 requested any police reports involving Joshua Hilberling from Eielson Air Force Base. We're waiting to hear back from them.

We couldn't reach Joshua's family for comment.

Amber Hilberling's arraignment is June 28, 2011.

 
 

Wife Arrested After Tulsa Man Falls To His Death From 25th Floor Apartment

NewsOn6.com & Lacie Lowry, News On 6

June 8, 2011

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Police arrested the wife of a man who fell 17 stories to his death from a Tulsa apartment building Tuesday afternoon.

Amber Hilberling, 19, was arrested in the death of her husband, Joshua Hilberling.  She was booked into the Tulsa County jail on a complaint of first degree murder.

Tulsa Police were called to the University Club Tower at 17th and South Carson about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"What I heard was big bang at first and I'm thinking it was an earthquake. Then I looked out the window and I saw the person," Mina White, a resident, said.

Tulsa Police said Joshua, in his 20s, died after a 17-floor fall from the 25th floor.

"My reaction was what in the world is going on? Is the heat getting to people?" White said.

According to the arrest report, Amber Hilberling told officers she and Joshua got into an argument and she pushed him with her hands, causing him to fall through the window.

"There was some sort of argument, it was brief, and then the crashing of the window and the gentleman fell out of the window," Tulsa Police Sergeant Dave Walker said.

Residents looked over balconies at the scene below, wondering what happened in the moments before the man's death.

"It's kind of freaky," Catherine Freeman said. "We just moved here and no one knows how to get their car out right now because it is just all covered in glass in the back park gate."

Amber Hilberling is being held in the Tulsa County jail on $500,000 bond.

According to court documents, Joshua Hilberling filed an emergency protective order against his wife on May 10, 2011. That protective order was dismissed two weeks later when the couple didn't show up to cour.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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