Tulsa woman rejects second plea deal linked to husband's fatal fall
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 5:41 AM
A woman who is accused of murdering her husband by pushing him out a window in a Tulsa high-rise building has rejected a plea negotiation offer that calls for a sentence of five years in prison plus 15 years of probation, defense lawyers said.
Amber Michelle Hilberling previously had rejected a plea offer from the District Attorney's Office calling for a sentence of seven years in prison and 13 years suspended, according to her attorneys, April Seibert and Jasen Corns.
The rejected plea offers were put on the record at a court hearing Friday.
Hilberling's jury trial is set for March 11 in Tulsa County District Judge Kurt Glassco's court.
Joshua Hilberling, 23, died June 7, 2011, when he fell 17 stories from a window at the University Club Apartments, 1722 S. Carson Ave., to the top of a parking garage.
Amber Hilberling, now 21, is in the Tulsa Jail.
She is charged with second-degree murder based on an accusation that she pushed her husband, causing him to fall through the window and to his death.
The prosecution filed an alternative charge of first-degree manslaughter involving an allegation that the death occurred while she was committing a misdemeanor domestic assault and battery.
Second-degree murder has a sentencing range of 10 years to life in prison. First-degree manslaughter allows a possible sentence of four years to life in prison.
Both charges require a person, if convicted, to serve at least 85 percent of any prison term before becoming eligible for parole.
At a hearing Friday, the defense sought unsuccessfully to persuade Glassco to suppress as evidence Amber Hilberling's recorded statements.
A motion filed by Seibert and Corns asserts that actions by Tulsa police "clearly violated" Hilberling's constitutional right against self-incrimination.
A prosecutor maintains that voluntary statements made by Hilberling to her grandmother, which were recorded or overheard by police, are admissible evidence.
The statements were made in places - a police car and a police interrogation room, although no interrogation was taking place - where Hilberling had no reasonable expectation of privacy, according to Assistant District Attorney Michelle Keely.
Police Officer Don Holloway, who transported Hilberling and her grandmother to the Detective Division when Hilberling was a witness and not a suspect, has testified that he heard her say that "nobody was going to believe her" and that "she had pushed Josh."
Glassco ruled Friday that the statements can be used at a trial.
Original Print Headline: Woman again rejects plea deal in fatal fall
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Amber Michelle Hilberling: Her husband, Joshua Hilberling, 23, died June 7, 2011, when he fell 17 stories from a window at the University Club Apartments to the top of a parking garage. Amber Hilberling is charged with second-degree murder based on an accusation that she pushed her husband, causing him to fall through the window and to his death