TULSA - Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of a woman accused of pushing her husband from a Tulsa high-rise apartment.
Prosecutors say Amber Hilberling, 21, argued with her husband, 23-year-old, Joshua Hilberling, and pushed him out the window of their University Club Tower apartment in 2011. He fell from the 25th floor and landed on top of the eighth-floor parking garage.
Hilberling was charged with second-degree murder, though she filed a wrongful death suit in 2012 against the apartment complex, claiming the apartment had dangerously thin windows and her husband's fall was accidental.
On Wednesday, however, the defense had another explanation. During opening statements, Hilberling's attorney said it was a tragic accident and didn't deny her client pushed Joshua Hilberling. She also said it was self defense and Hilberling is finally ready to tell her side of the story.
When the prosecution made their opening statements Wednesday, they showed pictures of Joshua Hilberling, the apartment complex and the scene of the fall. They said a witness who was inside the apartment during the incident told police Amber ran out saying, "I pushed him out of the window. I killed him. I killed him."
Later, Hilberling was caught on tape, according to the prosecution, confessing to her grandmother. Hilberling reportedly said, "He was messing with the TV and I pushed him ... they were right. They kept saying if we stayed together I would kill him."
Court records show that Joshua Hilberling filed a protective order against his wife a month before his death, though it was dismissed when he failed to appear in court.
Potential jurors were sworn in Monday and jury selection began shortly thereafter. The jury was seated Wednesday morning and opening statements began a short time later.
Several witnesses for the prosecution have already taken the stand. A neighbor of the couple, Nathan McGowan, told the jury he heard the couple fighting inside their apartment. He said he heard running, then a very loud crash, followed by a woman screaming, "Oh my God. Oh my God."
McGowan said he first thought the crash was a fish tank breaking but he went to his balcony, looked over the edge and saw Joshua Hilberling laying face down on the eighth-floor parking garage.
One of the prosecution's key witnesses, Armando Rosales, was inside the HIlberling's apartment when the incident occurred. Rosales, a glass repairman, said Joshua Hilberling let him into the apartment to look at a broken window in the couple's bedroom -- a different window than the one from which Joshua fell.
When he told Joshua Hilberling the price to fix the window, Rosales said he became angry but agreed to the repairs.
Rosales testified that while he was cutting out the broken glass he thought he heard a crash. His employee, who was getting equipment from the car at the time, called Rosales and told him he saw someone fall out of a window.
Rosales told jurors he leaned over the balcony and saw Joshua Hilberling laying on the parking garage. He said his first thought was that Joshua jumped, but when he saw Amber Hilberling she was screaming, "I pushed my husband out the window. I killed him."
One of the last witnesses to take the stand on Wednesday was Don Holloway, the first Tulsa police officer Hilberling talked to after the incident.
Holloway told jurors that he heard Hilberling telling her friends that no one was going to believe her and she was going to go to jail.
Holloway also said Hilberling told her friends that she wished she had gone to her grandmother's earlier. When her friend asked how her husband fell to his death, Hilberling said he fell and she tried to grab him but couldn't.
Since her husband's death, Hilberling has been in and out of jail after violating curfew, testing positive for the active ingredient in marijuana and not charging her ankle monitor.
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