tv Lockup Tulsa Extended Stay MSNBC April 23, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
a young man plummets to his death when he crashes through a 25th floor window of the a tulsa high-rise. shockingly, his wife, two months away from giving birth, is charged with his murder in i know what happened. i was the only other person there and i will always maintain my innocence. >> now, her future lie in the hands of a judge. >> don't [ bleep ] me, dude.
>> also facing a murder charge, another inmate, disobeys orders. >> you are refusing -- >> i refuse nothing. >> -- to do what you're supposed do. >> i have my back to you. >> the jail psychiatrist must get to the bottom of it. >> do you know the what name of this place is here. >> no, not really. >> the story behind the orange underwear at the tulsa county jail. >> get out of here. the david l. moss criminal justice center looks like any other office building in couple examine the tulsa county jail, on any given day, about 1800 men and women are incarcerated here.
most are only accused of crimes and awaiting trial at the resolution of the cases. since that could range from days to year, jail officials say they strive to make the stay as comfortable as reasonably possible. >> we know you're in jail, you know you're in jail, why can't you have a chair that's comfortable to sit in while you're watching tv? why can't you have access to hot and cold water, access to food so you can snack and all of the necessities, but on top of that, because of the way we design our facility, inmates can leave their housing unit unescorted, people ask why all the time. why did you do that? my response is, why not? if we are going to let human beings maintain dignity, why not? you give to them until they prove they don't deserve it, then you take it away. and that's what we do. >> when inmates don't follow the rules, much is taken away. they're locked in sparse, sprinkled prison segregation cells for 23 hours a day.
>> [ bleep ]! >> the one-hour out is often spent in an enclosed rec yard playing handball with other inmates. even with limited interaction, it's not unusual for problems to occur here. officer persly and deputy witson have just been called to a reported conflict on the yard. inmates matthew west and robert hill have been arguing and have not complied with the supervising officer's orders. >> i told them to come to the yard and they refused. >> let's go. >> each inmate is called to the locked rec yard door. >> west. >> yes. >> come on. >> i'm right here. >> west complies with orders to slide his hands through the security slot in order to be cuffed. >> i don't got time to play games with you. >> hill, who is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder trial which he has pled not guilty is less cooperative. >> why are you doing this. >> no time to play with you, hill. >> don't [ bleep ], me, dude. >> the jail does not tolerate aggression of any kind against
an officer. and hill's swipe at deputy is the kind of action that officers are trained to subdue immediately. deputy witson entered the rec yard and fires a taser but fails to discharge properly. >> i didn't do anything, man! dude, what the [ bleep ] you all doing this for, man? why did you do that? >> get up. >> why did you do this? >> here we go. >> ply glasses, can i get my glasses. >> i didn't do nothing, man. >> stop playing with my, hill. >> hill continues to struggle as deputy witson returns him to his cell. >> you know problems, you shocked me with that [ bleep ] taser. >> you are refusing to do what you're supposed to do. >> i have my back to you! >> refusing. >> liar. >> [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. >> out of here. >> stop playing with me, hill.
>> following protocol, officer persly steps in to take control of the inmate. >> you just hurt me. you had no right to do that, man. >> which cell's yours? >> d cell, over there, man. >> that's your way of talking, hill. >> no, look how you're treating me. [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. man. >> with hill safely back in his cell, deputy witson breaks down the incident and the actions that followed. >> get a call to go to j-2 for two inmates refusing to cuff up. hill decided to slam me with his arm which i saw active sign of aggression. i took out my taser. when i pulled the trigger, the tong is did not come out. i was about to drop it when it did deploy, the spread wasn't long enough and impact his body. i had to take him down, i would get swung on hit by his fist or feet and that's why i tackled him to the ground. >> after cuffed deputy witson say his was still resisting.
>> with my hand on his arm, i could feel him pulling away pipe went ahead, that's when i put him on the rail to try to hold him for a minute, let him calm down, cool down, let him know i'm in full control, got him back up, started to walk again, yelling profanities. once we got to the door, that's when he started to buck up and i had to put him against the officer. >> a technique detention staff here trained for. >> one of the best tactics is with another d.o. to step in separate me and the inmate, that's way he has no problem with the detention officer because he's not the one that handcuffed him or gave orders. he did a great job of stepping in, saying i got it. this place runs on teamwork. we have to watch each other's backs because we're all we have in here. if we don't watch ear other, there's nobody to do it. >> later, deputy witson stops by to see hill and clear the air.
>> what happened, hill? >> i thought you were trying to snatch the ball out of my hand about i wasn't trying to swing on you, dude. trying to snatch the ball back and i was real angry. i lost it, but i wasn't trying to hit you. >> i got nothing personally against you, i'm tell you that right off the gate. next time, when i say cuff up, brother, go ahead, cuff up. once i get you cuffed up, i know i'm good, i ain't got nothing to worry about, i give you all of the time in the world to talk to me. >> can i have my glasses back. >> i talk to your d.o. up there, i'll get your glasses to you. >> thanks. >> you're welcome. >> usually once you get an inmate to calm down, think about their actions, it's a situation they understand they did something wrong. in mr. hill's situation he did. moreover, the whole situation with him, we are understanding i'm doing my job, it's something i do every day. once that was told him to, he got a clear picture of what i'm here to do. here's your shades back, man. >> thanks, man. >> you're welcome.
as in most other jails, the inmate turnover at tulsa county is frequent. as cases are resolved on a daily basis, most inmates will either be released or transferred to prison. the public rarely knows about these proceedings, as only a small percentage ever makes the news. >> and the sun feels awesome. >> when amber hilberling was arrested, it not only made headlines in tulsa. her case was covered nationwide.
>> was this an accident or something else? >> 18 months earlier, police were called to the high-rise apartment building overlooking the arkansas river near downtown tulsa. >> i man had fallen out of a window from the 25th floor down to the eighth floor on the parking garage. he was pronounced dead on the eighth floor of the parking garage. >> the victim, amber hilberling's 23-year-old husband, josh. >> from day one, i know what happened. i was the only other person there and i will always maintain my innocence. i did not kill my husband. i'll spend the next 25 years proving that if i have to. >> in the immediate aftermath of josh's fatal fall, investigators assumed it was an accident. after questioning amber they charged her with first-degree murder.
21 months later a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder and recommended giving her 25 years in prison. but the final sentencing will be handed down by her judge in three more weeks. whatever her fate, hilberling says the jury got it wrong. court records, however, show the relationship had more than a few problems. the couple married when amber was 19 and josh was 21. almost immediately, they left their friends and family in tulsa behind. >> he had enlisted in the air force. we flew off to alaska where he was stationed. >> amber says the marriage quickly deteriorated. josh started changing, getting very angry very quickly, and it just kind of escalated. nobody can understand what it was like to be married to him. i loved him so much, but he was a jerk. >> josh was soon honorably
discharged from the air force on an unrelated matter. amber was nearly seven months pregnant when the couple moved back to tulsa. >> my mom had an apartment at the university club towers that she had rented out and said we could go stay there. we were on the 25th floor, i mean, we were just arguing in the living room, and you know when you argue, you get closer and closer and closer and josh put his hands out onto my shoulders and i just -- i mean, i'm pregnant, i have a huge belly, i mean if you're going put your hands on me while i have a huge stomach, what's -- what's going to stop? what's going to stop it? so i mean, i pushed him off of me and he fell. i didn't hear the glass break. i remember wondering why everything was so quiet. i saw him, and then he wasn't
there. i looked in his eyes before he -- for a split second, a thousand years, all at once. webster hasn't even come up with the words to describe a moment like that. and i kind of stood there for a second kind of -- i mean, like you can't move, and then i ran to the window and looked down in time to see him hit the ground. we were on the 25th floor and he fell 17 stories because he hit the eighth floor parking garage. and -- i mean in my mind, he -- i mean for some reason i thought, oh my gosh, he's been knocked out.
i mean, that's what i thought to myself. totally irrational thought when you fall 17 stories, but my next move was to run and try to wake him up. and i was screaming my head off. eventually it registered that he was gone. next thing, i mean i remember kissing him on his cheek and then someone's pulling me off of him. i fainted. they had to put oxygen on me. and next thing i know, i'm sitting there talking to the cops and then i was arrested. i was put in handcuffs and next thing i know i'm in booking here at tulsa county jail. i mean, it was awful. it was so awful. >> coming up --
>> i feel guilty for breathing. >> amber hilberling's controversial statements on the day of her husband's death. >> the reason i got convicted was the interrogation video. >> josh's hilberling's brother has a different opinion. >> there is no question in my mind that she killed him on purpose. >> and -- >> i know what i'm doing, sister. am i dead? i just proved i know what i'm doing. >> robert hill's latest actions require mental health staff to intervene. i'm spending too much time hiring and not enough time in my kitchen. (announcer) need to hire fast? go to ziprecruiter.com and post your job to over 100 of the web's leading job boards with a single click. then simply select the best candidates from one easy to review list. you put up one post and the next day you have all these candidates. makes my job a lot easier. (announcer) over 400,000 businesses have already used ziprecruiter. and now you can use ziprecruiter for free. go to ziprecruiter.com/offer6
inside the tulsa county jail segregation unit, robert hill continues doing time in his one-man cell. he's only allowed out one hour per day for recreation or a shower. four days earlier he got into more trouble after he swung at deputy witsit. he was returned to his cell. at the time, hill was already in segregation for another reason. self-mutilation. >> first time he hurt himself, he threw a battery off a window, something broke i guess, he started slicing his arm up, cut him away.
we sent him to medical on suicide watch. he came back a couple weeks later, broke a razor blade and started cutting his arm everywhere, had to get stitches, staples all down his arm. >> hill says he's not suicidal but believes in bloodletting for health purposes. >> you want to get to wherever there's a good artery at. so the flow of blood will be good. >> for what? >> for what? for medicinal purposes, man. >> what about the fact it could kill you? >> i know what i'm doing, sister. believe me. am i dead? i just proved i know what i'm doing. >> when was that one done? >> not sure exactly when i did that. this is the one i did with a battery, though. this one is the one i did last time in the shower. you know this little fricker right here, it bled a lot.
i mean, it kind of scare med a little bit, this one did. i had a tourniquet. i tied it off. about the time i started to pass out i realized, this thing here's starting to bleed pretty good. >> hill has had a long history with the tulsa county jail and the oklahoma state prison system. over the past 20 years he's been convicted and served time for crimes including robbery, domestic violence, and escape. he's currently accused of fatally stabbing a man during an attempted robbery and is now awaiting trial for first-degree murder. but hill appears confused about his charges. >> they told me they were investigating an assault, okay? well, i had assault and battery, i knew about that. misdemeanor stuff, you know what i mean? >> robert, according to the court documents, the victim in your case was stabbed to death. >> stabbed to death? see, that's another thing, man,
like i feel like that's not me, i'm thinking they're confusing -- there's a lot of people with my name. >> amber hilberling says there is no confusion about the life she led prior to the 20 months that she spent in the tulsa county jail. >> before i came in here, you didn't want for anything. and then you come in a place like this and it is a serious transition. first three or four months i spent very angry, you know? i felt deprived of all of the things that i had before that i lacked now and it's because of those feelings that you still have of, this is not supposed to be my life. this isn't where i'm supposed to be. >> a jury found hilberling guilty of second-degree murder after she pushed her husband josh during a heated argument. he crashed through their living room window, and fell 17 stories to his death. later that day, amber, accompanied by her grandmother, was brought to the tulsa police department for questioning.
>> the reason yes got convicted, according to the jurors, was the interrogation video of me and my grandmother sitting at the police division talking amongst ourselves and they were recording it without our knowledge. they took a statements out of the video and used them to testify to my admission of guilt. >> i killed him. >> stop talking like that. >> what kind of person am i? i'm a horrible person who could do that. who could do that? push my husband and make him fall out a window. i feel so guilty for breathing. i mean, anyone would feel guilty. two cars get in a wreck, and you know, someone dies, the person in the opposite car would feel guilty.
and, i mean, i was just in a state of shock and horror. i was trying to understand what had happened. >> the prosecutors presented other evidence as well. it includes a neighbor who heard them arguing and then heard running immediately before josh broke through the window. implying amber had a running start and therefore pushed him much more aggressively than she indicated. a protection order josh filed after another fight in which he said amber struck him with a lamp. and josh's packed bags in the apartment which prosecutors argued meant he was leaving her. >> there's no question in my mind that she had killed him on purpose. >> josh hilberling's brother zack as well as the rest of his family believes the jury got it right. >> i don't think that she intentionally pushed him to kill him, but i do believe that she pushed him to hurt him. >> amber says the evidence shows that her push was not from anger but self-defense. >> my hands were on his chest.
his hands were cupping over my shoulders and that's why there were pictures of scratches right here and a hand print. he literally tripped backwards and stumbled into the window. they tried saying he went out face-first, and this is coming from a witness who is two football fields away. his hands and feet were towards me, like reaching out towards me, looked like he was being sucked out from the outside. >> josh is an athlete, josh is not going to trip over anything and accidentally fall out the window. she's not that big. i don't think that she could just stand there and push him. she would have to use some momentum with a running start to get that push. josh was packed up and ready to go. he had his bags, he was waiting for a ride. she pushed him with anger and out of force and josh fell out the window. and fell to his death. a father to never see his son. >> shortly after her
interrogation, amber was charged with josh's murder. two months later, out on bond, she gave birth to their son. >> he's 20 months old now. my mom sends me pictures every day. he's -- he's my world. >> but now she can only see him through a pane of glass in the visitation room. >> nobody can understand how much that simple contact with the people that you love matters until you don't have it anymore. >> hilberling's jail i.d. reminds her of better days. >> i miss this girl. i don't miss what she was going through. at the time. but -- i'm -- i miss being a girl. that's one of the options we don't really have in jail. i get reminded at least once a day that i don't look anything like i used to. the girls here make makeup out of colored pencil, toothpaste, hair grease. we just do it because kind of makes us feel like we're normal, like we're girls.
now in the world, i actually do makeup. so it's very hard to get used to this. it's just a hobby of mine. it wasn't like -- it wasn't anything i wanted to ever make a career out of, but i had a studio just where, you know, in my free time, you know. but that's all gone now. >> coming up -- >> you have murder charges. >> murder? oh, no. i think that was a mistake. that's another robert hill. there's a lot of robert hills in the system. >> robert hill has a puzzling session with the jail psychiatrist. and -- >> socks, boxers, bras, panties, all underwear is dyed. >> the reason tulsa inmates have their underwear dyed orange.
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>> due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. tulsa is the second largest city in oklahoma. but the tulsa county jail is a city within the city. along with numerous security concerns that come with temporarily housing some 1800 men and women, facing a huge array of criminal charges, it contains its own versions of the
local post office, a hospital, and busier restaurant than just about any other in the city. it also contains a gigantic laundry facility. >> we usually do anywhere from 10 to 12 loads. each load, each washer, the big washers are 125 pounds. the small washers are 75 pounds. if that can kind of give you an idea. >> the various colored uniforms coincide with each inmate's classification. >> all county clothing is generally orange. they have blue for juvenile. red for federal. black and white for state. and white for the kitchen workers. >> along with regularly washing all uniforms and linens, the laundry staff has another task. whenever new shipments of underwear arrive they must be dyed orange. >> socks, boxers, bras, panties, all underwear is dyed.
the reason that it's dyed so is we can get it back. >> when inmates are booked into the jail, their personal undergarments are stored until they are released. they must wear jail-issued underwear or purchase their own white underwear from the commissary. but on their way out, staff will check to make sure they're not leaving in orange underwear, jail-owned orange underwear. >> they can be washed and sterilized with the rest of the laundry, and it can be reused. it saves the facility money. >> most inmates get used to the idea of wearing orange socks and underwear, there's only one thing they sometimes find more difficult to stomach. the food. inmate whose can afford it can also buy snacks from the jail commissary. but an outside food vendor provides more expensive options that rival those found in the free world. the world where amber hilberling used to reside. >> i want to get my fresh favorites that i anticipate all week. fresh foods, it's just real food, that they twice a week have something yummy that we can buy.
>> fresh favorites inmates order every week. we put out menus. today's double bacon cheeseburger, $7. every wednesday they love us. cookies? >> no, you guys haven't changed them from the oatmeal raisinette, that's why they're still on there. put chocolate chip on there. and i will. >> we're almost out. >> okay, thank you. >> you're welcome. enjoy. >> hilberling has been convicted of second-degree murder, is now awaiting sentencing. she was seven months pregnant when she pushed her 23-year-old husband josh during a heated argument. he crashed through the window of their 25th floor apartment. the case made headlines. >> i received lots of letters from people all over the country. that's why i have so much. i write everyone back. it might not be ongoing correspondence but i write them back long enough to say thank you for your support. >> hilberling says the media as well as josh's family portrayed
her in a negative light. >> i was tried in the media. i was found guilty way before i was found guilty. and that's not fair. >> they said she was abusive toward josh. and as a result, she gets plenty of hate mail as well. >> you know the hate is just louder, i think, a lot of times because it's hate. somebody can have my beans. sage? sage? >> hilberling says she has also found support inside the jail. >> i've met some of the most amazing people that i wouldn't trade friendship with for the world. >> one of those friends is adrian dixon. >> this is my best friend. i talk to dix more than -- more than anybody else. >> so we've seen ups and downs. we know all of the flaws in our character. and we try to make each other -- >> i have no flaws in my character, don't let her fool you. >> right. it breaks my heart because i know that she is a --
a good person. i just wish -- i know that her appeal's going to work in her favor. i know. >> don't make me cry. >> you learn to be a family when you're incarcerated. i mean, it's kind of neat to see the groups of people that become friends in here. because they're people that you would never associate with out there. but you come in here, everyone's facing the same hurts and the same hangups so we kind of lean on each other for that. you know in 20 years i'm going to be so good at this game. >> hilberling might need all of the support she can muster. her sentencing, which could be up to 25 years in state prison, is only days away. robert hill is also facing an uncertain future as he awaits trial for first-degree murder and robbery. lately, he has seemed confused about his charges.
>> i feel like that's not me. like i'm thinking they're confusing -- like there's a lot of people with my name. >> he's also been cutting his arms for what he describes as medicinal bloodletting. >> he's going through some heavy things right now. he's got a lot on his plate. but -- i just don't -- i don't get it. i don't. >> will flowers, another tulsa county inmate who served prior prison term with hill, has noticed changes in his old friend. >> i seen his picture in the paper on the case he had i didn't recognize him. man, i hate it for him, i do. i pray for him. my heart goes out to him. he needs to quit all of the knucklehead stuff, trying to hurt himself. that's not the robert i know. he -- back -- back in the day he wouldn't do that. >> now, another reported strange comment from hill has prompted the jail's consulting psychiatrist dr. harnish to see him for an assessment. >> he told one of our mental health therapists he wanted to cut his head off. we need to see how he's doing
now, make sure his medicines are all right, see what we can do to help him stay alive. do remember he? i'm dr. harnish, i'm the psychiatrist. >> seems like i seen you once or twice before but i can't remember exactly where. sometimes i have problems with my memory. >> do you know what the name of this place is here? >> no, not really. >> so you don't know what this facility is? >> not -- it's a treatment center, i know that. >> well, not really. it's a jail. >> a jail? i thought it was -- i thought i was in a treatment center. why was i here? >> i think because of your charges. >> what charges? >> i believe you have murder charges. >> murder? oh, no, i think that was a mistake. they told me about that before but that's -- that's another robert hill. there's a lot of robert hills in the system and i don't -- i don't think that's me. i think that's somebody else. >> let me ask you just some basic things here. do you know the date today?
>> no. >> well, you probably know most of it, you probably know the year. >> no, i honestly don't. >> a minute ago i asked you if you knew where this place was or -- >> i have problems with my memory right now, for some reason, man. >> what was the reason you went back down to the infirmary recently? >> because one of the orderlies told the nurses that i said i was going to shave my head off. i asked for a razor so i could shave my head and he thought i said to shave my head off. that's what i think happened. >> the last time i saw you was last week and it was down in the infirmary and that was after you had cut yourself. >> yeah, i was doing a bloodletting, letting some of my blood out for medicinal purposes. i know from my own personal experiences that letting some of the blood out can sometimes help me with medicinal stuff, like when i have real bad migraine headaches. i didn't think i was harming
myself. i think if you do controlled bloodletting and do it with the right way, i don't -- i don't think i was in jeopardy of dying, though. >> sounds like we need to make sure that you stay in a safe environment, that you have your medical and psychiatric needs met, and that we respond whenever you are wanting to hurt yourself that we find a way to help you avoid that. why don't you head on out now. >> all right. >> that all seemed pretty suspect to me, actually. he seemed to have selective memory loss. when he responded that he didn't know that he was charged with murder, oh, that was somebody else, there are a number of robert hills. i mean, the fact that he had such a quick answer, that didn't seem to be appropriate in regards to typical memory loss. the fact that he couldn't remember the date, not even the year, that would be such a significant memory loss that he
probably would be losing other faculties. he probably would be losing some of his abilities to care for himself, to remember to shower, to clothe himself correctly. he's trying to make it seem like he has significant brain damage. i don't know what his agenda is. perhaps trying to go for not guilty by reason of insanity or having prolonged stay in a psychiatric hospital. >> coming up -- >> a lot of bad history in my life. three brothers all have been to prison. >> deputy witsit shares how chose he once came to being on the wrong side of the cell door. and -- >> i will always maintain my innocence, no matter what happens today. >> it's sentencing day for amber hilberling. we needed 30 new hires for our call center.
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several days ago inside the tulsa county jail, deputy witsit had to restrain an angry and agitated robert hill. >> you are refusing -- >> i refuse nothing! >> -- to do what you're supposed to do. >> i had my back to you! >> after things calm down, he discussed the event with hill and cleared the air. >> i got nothing personally against you, okay? i'm telling you that right out the gate. >> today, deputy witsit stops by the medical unit where hill has been under observation since jail staff reported he threatened to harm himself. >> how it's going? >> you look a lot more -- >> yeah. it's this big medicine they got me on. >> that's good. >> sleeping now. i wasn't before. not agitated like i was. >> that's good. you were pretty hyped up. >> yeah, i was. i get that way if i don't take my medicine. >> you're who you're supposed to
be i'm who i'm supposed to be. >> absolutely. that's a great way to put it. >> the next day, medical staff decide to release hill back to his old cell. deputy witsit will be his escort. witsit says that his ability to relate to inmates is rooted in his own troubled upbringing. the way i was raised and been through and seen my family go through in my life has influenced my behavior when it comes to speaking with inmates and dealing with them. a lot of bad history in my life. my three brothers actually all have been to prison. my older brother being the first, junior year of high school hanging out with dropouts and started to follow behind them instead of being the leader i guess just because i was so used to following behind my brother. >> witsit said he continued down the wrong path until one of them changed his life. >> when i decided to make changes in my life is when my son was born. i have to get serious because he has to have somebody to look up to.
i always had an interest in law enforcement, always wanted to be a police officer. and i just followed my passion. >> this gentleman is returning to his casa. >> witsit says the low points in his life now serve to make him a better law enforcement officer. >> now i'm on my own turf. >> help me communicate with them on a more effective level and i know that not everybody's bad and people make bad decisions and you have to keep that in mind dealing with anybody. you have to say, listen, i've been through the same kind of things, or i know about those situations and it's never too late. you can change. it's all about you. it's about choices. >> i want to shave my beard. get somebody here with some clippers, i'll do that. >> what do you want to do that? trying to get that youthful look back, that gq? >> yeah, yeah. thanks, man. >> welcome. >> while hill prepares to hunker down for another day in jail -- >> my gosh. >> amber hilberling's day will determine nothing short of how she might spend the next couple of decades.
>> i'm going to get sentenced today. and i am super freaking out. great zits popped up that show how nervous i really am. the court's going to ask if there's anything i would like say. i had to write a speech, that's what i'm nervous about. it says, i am so grautful for the opportunity to speak today, even if my words are futile. to the hilberlings, by my own painful, sometimes all-consuming, loss of josh, i measure yours and send my condolences. for my own family, i would give the world if i could make each of you closer to me. i am so sorry for sometimes allowing you to fight harder than i myself have the strength to. to my baby levi, you are the keepsake i endure toward. near or far, i promise you with everything my heart can muster, you are always with me, even while i dream. mommy loves you infinity,
squirt. for everyone involved in this train, i pray for. nobody can begin to see or estimate what i've been through in more places that only this courtroom. aside from my sentencing today i will live with this for the rest of my existence. i miss my husband just as much and i know my family misses me. but i put my faith in so much more than anything happening here and now. >> do you think that letter's going to have an impact? >> they need to know i have remorse. not because of guilt. but i do have remorse that people hurt. i hurt. >> hilberling could be sentenced to as much as 25 years. prior to the trial, she turned down the prosecution's offer for far less time if she pled guilty. >> i was offered five years, no contest, a week before i went to trial. and the judge asked me why i didn't take it, you know?
and i told him, i -- i am not guilty. oh my gosh, i can't believe i look like this. i'm freaking out. >> we love you, amber. >> we love you. >> i will always maintain my innocence. no matter what happens today. i know what happened. you get to a point you don't need a judge and jury to believe what you believe. >> the rest of my life. >> usually sinks in when you're in the holding cell, about ten minutes before they come get you. then you're like, my god, this is really happening. i'm nervous. it's my whole life. you know, i'm ready for it. can't change it.
every day vans transport inmates between the tulsa county jail and nearby courthouses. for some, those trips are just another day of routine proceedings. but for others, they are journeys that will forever change their lives. such is the case for amber hilberling who has just returned to jail after being sentenced for the second-degree murder of her husband josh. >> i got sentenced to 25 years. i just stood up there and cried. i mean, i'm all cried out now. i'm still going to appeal it. but still kind of shocked. jail policy is to make sure that
inmates who just suffered emotional distress of a long sentence don't intend to harm themselves. so soon after her return, hilberling must meet with mental health staff. >> here you have to ask the inmates point blank, do you want to kill yourself? are you suicidal? do you have plans of harming yourself? >> i said, i wish i did. you know. it might make this easier. but i'm okay. i'll be okay. >> she was ready to cry. she was holding back tears. trying to be stoic as best she could after receiving a 25-year sentence. but she was cleared to go back to her general population unit. >> hilberling says she's made a conscious choice to view her future with optimism. >> i don't mean to sound all religious, but i think that's the whole point of faith is knowing that it can be a lot worse. somebody in the holding cell today was messing with me about that five years i didn't take and they were like, so you got greedy?
and i'm like, no, i -- i said you know what? i said, 20 years from now, whether i'm in prison or not, i'm going to be able to tell my son that i fought as -- i fought with everything mommy had in her. because she believed in her innocence. you know? i want him to maybe one day see my courage and respect that more than if i was just to lie down and say, you know what? i'm guilty because this is the best i'm going to get. no. >> so now that you have been sentenced, what are you -- like what's your plans? >> escape. >> that's good. >> i'm just kidding. i'm firmly believing i'm not going to spend 25 years of my life in prison. i'm hanging on to that hope. i mean, i believe that -- that -- that all, all of the evidence that points to everything i've said from day one will be revealed.
and my appeal, something will change. >> because of the processing that must take place, sentenced inmates are rarely transported immediately to state prison. it can be a matter of months before the transfer occurs. three days after her sentencing hilberling has been told the transfer is imminent. >> the last few days have been hard. last few days have been really hard. now that my trial's over and everything i actually have room to grieve. there's a lot of things you want over, not just people, you know? but places. identities. people you could have been. things you could have done. >> late that night, hilberling's transfer comes through. she is awoken and told she's being sent to prison. the next day, hilberling's best friend, adrian dixon, recalls their hurried good-byes. >> she came over, she was crying.
she told me to be good. got to talk to her for a little bit, give her a hug. she drew me a picture of her and it was like, always hold my hand. she's corny. she's scared, i think. >> i'm calling amber's mom to tell her she went to prison last night. hey, this is adrian. she pulled chains last night. she was crying but she's going to be all right. she just -- she's strong. she can do this. you guys got to be strong for her. my god, her mommy was crying.
♪ ♪ all victims were believed to be randomly selected, stopped by the killers, who were driving around asking directions, then gunning down the victims. >> the city is shocked by a murderous shooting spree on a major religious holiday. >> i want to say to the perpetrator and anybody who would attempt to aid or abet him, we're coming for you. >> two suspects are booked into the jail, and now one of them is