Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Murder of Joshua Hilberling

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รข€œ Joshua Hilberling (pictured left) was only 23 years old when his life was tragically taken on June 7th, 2011. Joshua had been married to his wife Amber Hilberling (pictured right) for about a year at the time. Though they had...
Joshua Hilberling (23) and his wife Amber Hilberling (19) pictured together in 2011

Joshua Hilberling (pictured left) was only 23 years old when his life was tragically taken on June 7th, 2011. Joshua had been married to his wife Amber Hilberling (pictured right) for about a year at the time. Though they had only had been married for a short amount of time, their relationship had turned quite volatile. On the day of his death, Joshua and Amber got into an altercation that resulted in Joshua being pushed out the window of their Tulsa, Oklahoma apartment, which was located on the 25th floor of their building, and falling to his death. Amber, who was 19 years old and 7 months pregnant at the time, was arrested and charged with second degree murder.

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The apartment building where Joshua & Amber lived

According to Joshua’s parents, he had been abused by Amber throughout their relationship. In fact, a month before his death, he had visited Domestic Violence Intervention services to get help. Joshua filed a protective order against Amber as well, alleging that she had hit him over the head with a lamp, causing him to need 21 stitches. However, Joshua ultimately decided to stay with Amber because she was pregnant with his child. The protective order was never finalized after the couple failed to show up in court.

Amber’s lawyers acknowledge that Amber and Joshua were in an abusive relationship, however they listed Joshua as the abuser, not Amber. Her defense claimed that, during the June 7th altercation, Amber pushed Joshua away from her because she was trying to protect her unborn child, and that she did not intend to push him out the window. The prosecutor agreed that Amber likely did not intend to kill Joshua that day, but that her actions did ultimately cause his death. As a result, they offered Amber an alternative charge: first-degree manslaughter involving an allegation that the death occurred while she was committing a misdemeanor domestic assault and battery. If Amber accepted this plea deal, she would only have had to serve five years in prison plus 15 years of probation.

Still, Amber refused to accept the plea deal. She claimed that she acted only out of self-defense, and that Joshua was killed while she was trying to defend herself, rather than him being killed as a result of her abuse. Due to her refusal to accept the plea deal, Amber was ultimately put on trial for second degree murder. A jury ruled in favor of the prosecution and found her guilty as charged. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Three years into her sentence, on October 26th, 2016, Amber was found dead in her prison cell. A coroner ruled her death as a suicide.

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For further reading: Pushed: State of Oklahoma vs. Amber Hilberling: The Inside Story of the Murder Case That Riveted the Bible Belt

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