Attorney: Amber Hilberling Plans To Appeal Guilty Verdict In High-Rise Death

Monday, March 18th 2013, 10:59 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa woman convicted of second degree murder is already planning her appeal. A jury found Amber Hilberling guilty of pushing her husband, Josh, out of their 25th story apartment window.

Earlier this month, Hilberling rejected a plea deal that would have sent her to jail for just five years, which is a fraction of the sentence the jury recommended Monday.

The guilty verdict was too much for Amber Hilberling's family. They rushed out of the courtroom after she was convicted of second degree murder.

It took jurors less than three hours to deliberate, much quicker than the defense expected.

"We, of course, appreciate the jury's service and their time that they've given the case, but we are very disappointed with the verdict," said defense attorney April Seibert.

Hilberling admitted she pushed the Air Force veteran when she was pregnant, but said it was out of self-defense. She claimed she never thought he would fall out the window.

3/18/2013 Related Story: Tulsa High-Rise Death: Amber Hilberling Guilty Of Second Degree Murder

"It was justice, it doesn't bring Josh back," said Assistant District Attorney Michelle Keely.

Prosecutors said there were no signs of a struggle in the apartment to support the self-defense claim. They said the jury wasn't even allowed to hear about past domestic violence in the Hilberlings' relationship.

"There's a lesson to be learned from this, and that is that domestic violence goes on in every strata of our community. It happens to men and it happens to women," Keely said.

Hilberling's attorneys argued the fingerprint marks and scratch on her shoulders proved that Josh grabbed her before she pushed him, but it wasn't enough for the jury.

"We still maintain that this was self-defense, and our client had absolute right to defend herself in that situation. Clearly, the jury didn't see it the same way," Seibert said.

Keely said it's sad that Hilberling's baby has lost one parent to homicide and possibly another to prison.

"One of the things that Levi will grow up knowing is that there are consequences for actions and sometimes those are good and sometimes those are bad," she said.

Amber Hilberling turned down a 5-year plea deal from prosecutors a week before her trial.

Monday, the jury recommended 25 years. Her sentencing is set for April 23.