An Oklahoma woman who was convicted of pushing her husband to his death from the window of their 25th-floor apartment, was found dead in her prison cell on Monday evening. Amber Hilberling, 25, was a little more than three years into a 25-year prison sentence for the 2011 murder of her husband Josh Hilberling. Some reports indicate she was found hanged in her cell, but a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections reportedly said a medical examiner was conducting an autopsy and a cause of death would be released once that’s complete.
Hilberling, who was 19 and seven months pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, has always maintained her innocence and says that her husband had fallen from the window on that fateful day in 2011 after she kicked him in self-defense during a fight the two had. During her trial, Hilberling told jurors she was the victim of domestic abuse and members of her family reportedly testified that she was planning to leave her husband because of the repeated abuse she suffered.
Earlier this year, during a jailhouse interview with Dr. Phil McGraw, Hilberling continued to defend herself and offered the following explanation of what preceded her husband’s death plunge. Hilberling, who was grilled by McGraw, said their fight had started when she called him a “coward.”
“He reached out and grabbed me. And I was pregnant. And he didn’t care,” Hilberling said. “I pushed him off me. The window wasn’t supposed to happen.” She said she pushed her husband off of her, and he tripped and fell out the window. He landed on the roof of a parking garage 17 stories below the window. When McGraw questioned Hilberling about whether it was her intent to kill her husband, she responded, “No, I didn’t. The injuries that were shown in the pictures speak for themselves. There was an altercation in which I defended myself.” She went on to give birth to a baby boy within two months of her husband’s death.
Before her trial, Hilberling declined a no contest plea deal that would’ve required a maximum five-year prison sentence. Instead, she was convicted of second-degree murder. Earlier this year, supporters launched a petition calling on President Obama to pardon Hilberling, but, to date, the petition has only a little more than 1,200 signatures. Around the same time the petition was launched, French President Francois Hollande, acquiescing to public pressure, pardoned a woman sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her husband after her children came forward to say that their father had subjected her to physical and emotional abuse for decades. Below, watch a clip from Hilberling’s interview with McGraw.
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