High-rise murder trial preparations under way
BY CARY ASPINWALL & BILL BRAUN World Staff Writers
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 8:09 AM
A judge and attorneys met Friday in preparation for a trial set next week for a woman accused of murdering her husband by pushing him out a window in a Tulsa high-rise building.
The jury selection process is scheduled to begin Monday for the trial of Amber Michelle Hilberling, who is charged with second-degree murder based on allegations that she pushed her husband, causing him to fall through a window to his death.
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.
Hilberling indicated again Friday that she was not accepting a possible plea negotiation offer presented in an effort to resolve the case.
A week ago, defense lawyers said she rejected a plea offer that called for a sentence of five years in prison and 15 years of probation.
At Friday's hearing, District Judge Kurt Glassco said neither side will be allowed to discuss or present evidence to the jury regarding any alleged drug use or drug sales.
Defense lawyers asked Glassco not to allow Joshua Hilberling to be referred to as "the victim" during the trial, maintaining that it could be prejudicial to the defendant.
Glassco did not specifically prohibit references to Joshua Hilberling as the victim, but the judge indicated he might do that if the usage became excessive and was being done to elicit sympathy.
Glassco instructed that the couple's 1-year-old child was not to be in the courtroom or on the courthouse's fourth floor - the floor where Glassco's courtroom is located.
Hilberling was pregnant at the time of her husband's death.
Also Friday, Glassco denied a request by the Tulsa World to place a fixed, stationary camera in the courtroom to photograph the trial of a case that has attracted substantial public interest.
Schaad Titus, attorney for the World, said a stationary camera offered the least intrusive way to capture images while protecting the dignity of court proceedings.
Defense and prosecuting attorneys objected to allowing a camera in the courtroom.
Defense attorney Jasen Corns said there was no way to ensure a camera would be "non-intrusive."
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Keely indicated that she thought a camera could be distracting to the jury.
Based on those objections, Glassco denied the Tulsa World's request.
Original Print Headline: High-rise murder trial prep begins
Cary Aspinwall 918-581-8477 Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Amber Hilberling: She refuses to accept a plea offer.