Alisha Walker’s final meeting with the man that the prostitute called a “really good trick” turned deadly when she said he wildly lunged at her with a kitchen knife in his Orland Park home.
Cook County prosecutors, meanwhile, told jurors Thursday that Walker’s tale of self-defense was a ruse to cover up her explosive reaction to Alan Filan’s refusal to give her money.
In the end, after six hours of deliberation, jurors convicted 22-year-old Walker of second-degree murder for stabbing the veteran Brother Rice High School teacher to death.
When the guilty verdict was read, Walker’s mother fled from Judge James Obbish’s courtroom and wailed in the hallway. “She’s just a baby,” the woman screamed as her relatives tried to comfort her.
“This is not a victory or a defeat. This is the end of a tragedy,” said Walker’s attorney, Patrick O’Byrne.
O’Byrne said the verdict was “obviously a compromise” since Walker could have been convicted of first-degree murder.
Walker, who has drug and prostitution convictions, can be sentenced to probation or from four to 20 years in prison.
Earlier Thursday, Assistant State’s Attorney James Papa and Christa Bowden waved off Walker’s claim that she was attacked by the slightly built man who summoned her and another woman to his home after contacting them through an ad on Backpage.com.
Bowden called Walker a “master manipulator” who sweet-talked Filan by calling him “baby” in text messages before his death and then trying to play the innocent victim when homicide detectives interrogated her.
Filan, 61, was found battered, bloodied and sprawled on his back on his kitchen floor on Jan. 18, 2014. The defensive wounds and damage to his heart, liver, kidney and spleen made it clear she was the attacker, prosecutors said.
Filan was allegedly irritated because the woman who had accompanied Walker wasn’t the same escort he had glimpsed in a picture in the ad.
“He wasn’t getting the services promised,” so he took the money back, Bowden said. But Walker, who had serviced Filan twice before, wasn’t leaving without the cash, Bowden told jurors.
“She followed him. She picks up the knife. She’s the one who’s not going to let him get away with not paying her,” Bowden said.
However, O’Byrne pointed out that his client didn’t have to resort to violence if she wanted to be compensated.
“She doesn’t have to pull out a knife to get money,” he said. “All she’s gotta do is take off her clothes.”
O’Byrne said Walker was trying to protect herself from Filan, who grew enraged after she and her friend refused to have unprotected sex with him for $300.
The defense attorney, who dramatically got down on the ground to re-enact the stabbing, said Filan threatened to shoot Walker and repeatedly called her a “stupid bitch” while swinging at her with the bladed weapon.
There is evidence of a “fight” and a “struggle,” O’Byrne said, stressing that Walker had a broken nail and cuts and scratches.
“That could have been Alisha Walker there dead,” he said. “She was thinking, ‘Get me out of here. Get me away from this man.'”
Because she was a prostitute, Walker wasn’t going to call 911 and run to police, O’Byrne said.
Prosecutors argued that if there had been a struggle over a knife, Walker would have gotten more than what looked like a paper cut on her hand.
Walker said Filan punched her face “like a dude,” but there is not one visible mark on her on surveillance videos from a Chicago hotel after the murder, Bowden said.
Walker initially “played dumb” when she was questioned by police after she was picked up at a motel in Fort Wayne, Ind., a few days later. But after five hours, she was ready “to spin” a “script,” prosecutors said.
Walker, who wore a red suit in court Thursday, cried when grisly crime scene and autopsy photos were presented during the three-day trial.
She also sobbed heavily watching herself breakdown on video when detectives told her that Filan was dead.
But Papa told jurors they shouldn’t take Walker’s blubbering seriously.
“She lied in an attempt to explain away her acts and put it on Alan Filan,” Papa said.
Those tears, Papa said, weren’t for Filan. Walker wept because she was thinking, “Oh my God. I am going to jail,” Papa said.