The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
March 19, 2013
December 31, 2019

Last week, the prosecution rested its case against Amber Hilberling, an Oklahoma woman who is charged with second degree murder in the death of her husband, Joshua Hilberling. �Amber Hilberling was 21 years old and seven months pregnant when, prosecutors say, she pushed her 23-year-old husband through the window of their 25th floor Tulsa high rise apartment, sending him to his 17 stories below to his death on top of a parking garage.Prosecutors allege that Amber Hilberling was angry with her husband because he was planning to leave her. �They noted his packed bags and a half empty closet containing only women's clothing in the apartment. �They say that Amber argued with her husband and shoved him out the window to his death.Last week, the accused woman took the stand in her own defense. �She told the court that she did not intend to kill Joshua, but that she pushed him in self defense. �She says that earlier in the day, she had told her husband that she wanted a divorce. �Later, they began arguing, and Amber says her husband first threw a laundry basket, breaking a window. They continued arguing later, Amber says, and Joshua grabbed her by the shoulders. �She says it made her scared for herself and for her unborn child, so she pushed him off of her. The defendant told the court that she doesn't remember what happened next, except that she saw her husband fall through the glass.Expert witnesses for the defense testified that the glass used in the 25th floor windows was dangerously thin, suitable for picture frames, but not for windows in a high rise apartment complex. In an interesting twist, Amber Hilberling has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University Club Apartments, saying that they are liable for her husband's death because of their use of unsafe glass and their failure to use thick windows suitable for an upper level apartment. However, another expert witness said that the glass was suitable and in compliance with current building code regulations.While defense attorneys point to a heated argument between Amber and Joshua Hilberling, and Amber's fear for her safety as motivation behind the fatal push, prosecutors say that crime scene photos show no signs of a struggle. �They played an incriminating recording for the jurors in which Amber Hilberling tells her grandmother, "I pushed my husband and made him fall out of the window. . . . He was messing with the TV, and I pushed him."Prosecutors pointed to a history of domestic violence, noting that Joshua Hilberling had filed a protective order against Amber a month earlier, saying she threw a lamp at his head that required him to get stitches and staples. Defense attorneys noted that the order had been dismissed weeks prior to Joshua's death.The case is expected to conclude today.Heightened emotions can quickly escalate an argument from a minor altercation to a serious domestic crime. �A person accused of domestic violence may be a chronic abuser, a person who acts rashly in the heat of an argument, or a person who was acting in self defense. �Find a domestic violence lawyer in Oklahoma by visiting 3/19/13: A jury has found Amber Hilberling guilty of second degree murder and recommended a sentence of 25 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for April 23. Hilberling plans to appeal.


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