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15 years for prostitute in fatal stabbing of Brother Rice teacher

Alisha Walker described Alan Filan as a “sweet, caring” john who enjoyed talking to her.

But he was “very controlling” and “dominant,” the prostitute said in court Thursday, addressing relatives of the veteran Brother Rice High School teacher she stabbed to death after an argument over money and sexual services that were never rendered.

“I am so sorry this happened. . . . I pray to God for forgiveness everyday,” Walker said before she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a second-degree murder charge.

“It was bad on both [of our] parts. I shouldn’t have been selling myself. … A fight broke out. It caught me by surprise. . . . I hope you find it in yourself to forgive me in your heart. If not, I completely understand. … I had no right to play God.”

Minutes before, Filan’s prominent lobbyist brother had said, “Most of our tears are gone but the anger and bitterness remain. . . . We are not able or ready to forgive.”

Walker, 23, faced up to 20 years in prison for killing Filan — a man his brother called a “great son,” a “wonderful father” and a dedicated educator who gave extra time to the “struggling student, the bullied student, the student who had no one else to turn to.”

Prominent lobbyist William Filan leaves court with other family and friends after the woman convicted of killing his brother, Brother Rice High School teacher Al Filan, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. | Rummana Hussain/Sun-Times
Prominent lobbyist William Filan leaves court with other family and friends after the woman convicted of killing his brother, Brother Rice High School teacher Al Filan, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. | Rummana Hussain/Sun-Times

However, Walker’s attorney, Patrick O’Byrne, said the 61-year-old was less than an ideal citizen the night he was killed in his Orland Park home over two years ago.

After summoning Walker and another woman to his residence from, Filan, who had been drinking, allegedly grew enraged because Walker’s companion didn’t resemble the escort in the online ad.

Walker, who had been with Filan before, said he was noticeably “edgy.”

He became more combative and grabbed a kitchen knife when it became clear Walker and her friend wouldn’t have unprotected sex with him for $300, O’Byrne had said during Filan’s trial before Cook County Judge James Obbish.

O’Byrne continued to argue on Thursday that Walker plunged the knife into Filan 14 times in order to protect herself. As she ran away, Filan hurled expletives at her, so she had no idea he was on the verge of death, O’Byrne said.

“This was a fight. . . . She wanted out of the house,” the defense attorney said.

However, Assistant State’s Attorney James Papa said someone who believed they had acted in self-defense wouldn’t flee to Indiana or fail to call for help as Walker did before leaving Filan’s slight, battered body on his kitchen floor on Jan. 18, 2014.

The tears streaming down Walker’s cheeks when detectives told her that Filan had died were “an act,” the prosecutor maintained.

Obbish disagreed but said Walker, who grew up in a dysfunctional, broken home, was in “denial.”

“I didn’t believe her breakdown on the [interrogation] video was an act,” the judge said.

“I think it was a sincere expression of her sadness at the time, because the world of denial she had encased herself in was over.”

While Obbish didn’t think Walker strolled into Filan’s home intending to hurt him, her “plan was to get away from what she had done.”

The judge noted Walker’s lack of remorse immediately after the incident, but he also waxed on at length about her decision to work as a prostitute even though she had been arrested for walking the streets before.

Obbish berated Walker for choosing a “dangerous,” unsavory lifestyle and for expressing loyalty to her pimp who was nothing but as “animal who sucked money” out of her while she “humiliated” herself by performing sex acts with strangers.

If Walker hadn’t been concerned about handing off money to her pimp, perhaps Filan would be alive, Obbish said.

“She wasn’t walking out of there without her money, and that’s why we’re here today,” the judge said.

Obbish said he was touched by the victim-impact statements read in court by Filan’s brother and step-daughter as well as the one Papa read from attorney Burt Odelson, board chairman at Brother Rice.

The hundreds of young boys Filan helped shape into young men are better human beings because of him, Odelson wrote.

William Filan recalled working at a local hamburger joint, delivering papers, playing sports and sharing an old used car with his brother when they were young.

“He made everyone around the table laugh out loud with his one-liners,” William Filan said.

“We will not be able to debate politics or what teams will make the playoffs. We will miss discussing the latest movies and books we’ve exchanged to read and view. Our family is broken.”

Kelly Filan said Al Filan was the only parental figure she had left in her life after her mom died when Kelly Filan was 17.

Her stepfather was strict but loved her fiercely, she said.

With his murder, Kelly Filan said she has “no parent to call when I need them, no parent to call when I have good news or bad news, no childhood home to visit.”

Obbish specifically told Kelly Filan that while he cannot make her or anyone else whole, “you are the person you are today because of Al.”