Friday, March 10, 2017

What happened to Amber Hilberling? Suicide or foul play?

I realize this is not a new story but it's one that's had me wondering what really happened to Amber Hilberling in that prison cell. Serving a 25 year sentence for pushing husband Josh Hilberling and causing him to shatter the glass window in their high rise condominium and fall 17 floors to his death, Amber was found hanging in her cell by another inmate last October. She was 3 years into her 25 year sentence.  Prior to her high profile trial, Amber was offered a much reduced sentence to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter that would have had her serve only 5 years in prison.

Amber turned down the deal and rolled the dice with a jury and ended up losing 20 more years of her life. Amber was very pregnant at the time of the crime and gave birth to her son before her trial began.  Her defense was two fold - that it was an accident and she never meant to hurt Josh with a bit of self defense thrown in. Amber claimed Josh was coming at her and she pushed him away to protect her unborn child. 

Many people believe Amber turned down the plea deal because she believed that admitting any culpability would hurt her lawsuit against the high rise for the windows that were not up to code and shouldn't have broken so easily. I don't know if that played into her decision but she had to have been absolutely devastated when she was convicted of second degree murder with a lengthy sentence.  She could have been out soon enough to raise her son had she taken the deal.

Prison officials and the coroner were quick to call Amber's death a suicide. Too quick if you ask me. Her mother said that she talked to Amber daily and she was in a good place mentally and she talked to her young son regularly. Her appeals had been denied earlier last year, could that have caused her to lose all hope and decide to end her life? I can't understand how she would make that choice to leave the son she scored without a father and mother.  
I seem to recall that Amber tested positive for meth while in prison, although the Mabel Correctional Facility website inmate lookup page is down. That's where you can find information on prisoners and disciplinary write-ups, classification changes, jobs etc.

One statistic that stands out about this prison is that it allegedly has the highest rate of inmate rapes.

There was talk from prison guards that she had seemed depressed, but I don't think they really did much in the way of an investigation into her death. Isn't it equally possible that Amber made some enemies due her prison stay? The whole thing is a mystery to me. And this entire story is filled with senseless deaths and shattered lives for both families involved.

The suicide numbers I correctional facilities is alarming. Are people being properly screened and treated for depression and other mental problems?  Amber's parents appeared on Dr Phil's show and they want a full investigation into Amber's death. She didn't leave a suicide note. Nothing to explain things to her son and family if prison was too much for her to bear and she made the decision to kill herself.

I'm just not so sure it's that simple. What do you think? She had years to come to terms with the decision to turn down that plea deal. When Amber appeared on Dr Phil's show prior to her death she explained that she didn't want her son to grow up believing she purposely killed his father and that's what accepting the plea meant in her mind. 

This is just another one of those stories that stick with you. I'd like for Amber's family to know the truth or at least feel comfortable with the information prison officials are providing. Sad case starting with Josh's untimely death and ending with Amber's.

That's all for now. Enjoy your day!




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