Tulsa Woman Accused Of Pushing Husband To His Death Rejects Plea Deal
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She was released on bond two days later, but that bond was revoked in December after she reportedly failed to keep her ankle monitor charged at least 10 times.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.