Ohio woman with history of prostitution charged in Brother Rice High School teacher’s killing

Written By By STEVE METSCH AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporters Posted: 02/27/2014, 06:55am
Array Alisha Walker Facebook image

An Ohio woman with a history of prostitution was charged Saturday with stabbing Brother Rice High School business teacher Alan Filan to death at his home in Orland Park last weekend.

Authorities said Alisha Walker, 20, of Akron, Ohio, admitted stabbing Filan.

Arrested Friday at a hotel in Fort Wayne, Ind., she was being held without bail Saturday at the Allen County Jail in Fort Wayne on a first-degree murder warrant issued by Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. She’s expected to appear in court there Monday.

The police found Filan, 61, dead on his kitchen floor around 10:35 a.m. Tuesday 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 the police. “Walker and Filan argued over money, a struggle ensued, which resulted in Walker stabbing Filan multiple times.”

Walker — who authorities said has a history of arrests on prostitution, drugs and battery charges — then drove off in her car, the police said.

They said she had previously seen Filan at least twice.

Filan’s family had no comment Saturday on the arrest.

Walker’s mother, Sherri Chatman, of Akron, said 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 last weekend.

“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.”

The uncle said he understands how it looks that Walker drove away if she acted to protect herself and the other woman,

“Why wouldn’t you stop and call the police and say, ‘This guy tried to kill me, and this is what went down,’ ” Hensley said. “But think about it. It’s pretty traumatic. You don’t know how you’ll react. A lot of things play tricks on your mind. She should have called the police and waited there till they came.”

The police did not repond to calls Saturday seeking comment on the statements from Walker’s relatives.

Hensley, 43, said his niece “had some family problems growing up,” so he and his wife Dawna took her in when she was in the ninth grade.

“We brought her up to be a good girl,” he said. “She got good grades in school.”

But he said, “There was always drama,” often involving “conflict between her mom and us and whether Alisha was happy.

“I helped her with her school work,” Hensley said. “We had rules for her. If she went out, we wanted to know who she was out with. We’re a little country town, and that’s the way we were raised. We go to church on Sunday, and we know what right and wrong is.”

He said that when Walker turned 17, she dropped out of school and went back to Ohio, where she “started running around with the wrong people.”

According to her mother, at 18 Walker left for Chicago and never returned, working as a prostitute. Chatman echoed Hensley’s comment, saying, “She got involved with the wrong people. Somebody showed her the lavish lifestyle we could never afford to have, and things got to her.”

Hensley said his niece was crying on the phone Friday and told him she was “afraid” she disappointed him.

“I told her, ‘I’m disappointed, but I love you. I’ll always love you, no matter what happens,’ ” Hensley said.

Chatman said her daughter “is really a sweetheart.” Last week, she said Walker saw a car go into a ditch, stopped her car and ran to make sure the other driver was OK.

“She took care of my grandma,” Chatman said, crying. “She was in church. She just doesn’t have this in her.”

She said the murder charge against her daughter “is killing me. It’s just tearing me apart.”

Filan taught at Brother Rice, in Mount Greenwood on Chicago’s South Side, for nearly 40 years and headed the school’s business studies department. He also coached soccer at Andrew High School in Tinley Park for more than 10 years, through the 2009-10 school year.

Filan’s older brother is lobbyist William Filan, whose clients include the city of Chicago. His younger sister, Denise Filan, is a Cook County judge assigned to the Bridgeview courthouse. He’s a cousin of former state budget director John Filan.

Funeral arrangements, which are pending, are being handled by Curley Funeral Home in Chicago Ridge, a funeral home employee said.

Contributing: Mike Nolan

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