FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The family of an Ohio woman charged in the stabbing death of a Brother Rice High School business teacher said Monday that she left home at a young age and was earning a lot of money — so much that it didn’t add up.
“The way she was living, I’d rather her be safe and be in jail and knowing she is still living as opposed to her living in the streets the way she was,” said Te-Aire Tucker, about her sister Alisha Walker, who was arrested last week.
Tucker, 23, and Walker, 20, both of Akron, Ohio, share the same father with six other siblings, and Walker is the eldest of her mother’s three children.
“Alisha had it a little bit harder than the rest of us,” Tucker said. “She had to fend for herself.”
On Monday, Walker appeared in court for an extradition hearing at the Charles “Bud” Meeks Justice Center. Walker agreed to be sent back to Illinois on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Alan Filan in his Orland Park home.
A judge ordered Walker to continue being held without bail in Allen County Jail until her next hearing Feb. 10.
Walker is accused of stabbing Filan, 61, to death last week. Orland Park police said Walker has a history of prostitution and battery and that she admitted to stabbing Filan.
By not fighting extradition, she will be returned soon to Cook County to enter a plea to the charge of first-degree murder.
Police found Filan dead on his kitchen floor about 10:35 a.m. last Jan. 21 after being called to check on him when he didn’t show up at work. He had been stabbed multiple times, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“Walker confessed to being at the home of the victim on Jan. 18 after Filan contacted her via the Internet site Backpage,” according to police. “Walker and Filan argued over money, a struggle ensued, which resulted in Walker stabbing Filan multiple times.”
Walker then drove off in her car, police said, adding that she previously visited Filan at least twice. Police have not said what led them to Walker, who was arrested early Friday morning at a motel on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, according to Fort Wayne police.
Tucker said the last time she saw Walker was on Jan. 17, when she stopped by with a woman for dinner and rest before the trip back to Chicago. She said they “laughed and played and Instagrammed and had a girl’s night out.”
“She was always back and forth,” Tucker said. “She was here today and gone tomorrow.”
Tucker said Walker dropped out of high school and lived on the streets before she turned 18. At the same time, Walker wore nice clothes, provided for her brothers and sisters and made sure they were cared for on Christmas.
“I knew she was doing something because she was giving out too much,” Tucker said. “She was taking care of too many people.”
Sherri Chatman, Walker’s mother, has created a legal defense fund, the “Lele Walker self defense,” hosted on the crowd-funding website giveforward.com. The website aims to raise $1 million within four months. As of Monday night, it had raised one donation for $25.
“My baby is being charged with murder,” the website reads. “We need to prove that it was self-defense. We all know she would never do anything like this unless it was serious.”
Chatman, of Akron, told the SouthtownStar on Saturday that her daughter told her she acted in self-defense.
“Alisha told me she had to” stab Filan, Chatman said, “that there was nothing else she could do. The only way I see my baby doing that is if she was in danger, in harm. It was either him or her. I think she freaked out.”
Walker’s uncle, Ed Hensley, of Winchester, Ky., said he talked with his niece Friday evening in a phone call from the Allen County Jail and that she told him she and another woman, who also worked for an escort service, had gone to Filan’s home Jan. 18.
“They had some sort of two-for-one special and went over there,” Hensley said. “This guy got upset because it wasn’t what the Internet suggested or whatever. My understanding is the guy wielded a knife at the other girl, and then my niece freaked out, took the knife from him and then stabbed him with it to keep (the other woman) from getting stabbed.”
Cameron Ellis, Tucker’s and Walker’s brother, called her a generous person who would give money to any family member who needed help. He said he had a clue what she did for a living but couldn’t ask her.
“I tried to talk to her, but I felt like if I talked to her it would go in one ear and out the other,” Ellis said. “I let her live her life because I love her.”
Tucker remembered celebrating her wedding in June and choosing Walker to be her bridesmaid.
“At the actual wedding day, she was sitting there in awe,” Tucker said. “She was always telling me ‘I’m going to be like you and have me a husband one day.’
“She didn’t know about those things, she wasn’t taught. It was amazing to her that people were living their lives. For me, that’s the norm, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. As opposed to her, it was unknown.”