COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Cook County jury on Thursday found prostitute Alisha Walker guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 stabbing of Al Filan, a longtime Brother Rice High School teacher.
Walker, who has prior drug and prostitution convictions, could face probation or four to 20 years in prison when Judge James Obbish sets a sentence in coming weeks.
"This is not a victory or a defeat," Walker's attorney, Patrick O'Byrne, said after the verdict was announced about 7:15 p.m. Thursday. "It's the end of a tragedy. ... It was a difficult case. Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of the Filans."
Walker cried quietly when the verdict was announced following six hours of deliberation. Her mother left the courtroom sobbing and could be heard screaming in the hallway.
According to court testimony, Walker, 22, fatally stabbed Filan 14 times inside his Orland Park home in January 2014 after the pair arranged a sexual encounter involving another woman through the website BackPage.com.
O'Byrne claimed Walker acted in self-defense after Filan was denied a threesome and unprotected sex, and then allegedly got rough with Walker. A medical examiner said Filan's blood alcohol content was .208, more than twice the legal limit for driving.
Prosecutors on Thursday slammed the defense, calling Walker a liar and "master manipulator."
Assistant State's Attorney Christa Bowden said Walker "played dumb" and wasn't cooperative when she was first interviewed by police in January of 2014. But in an interview five hours later, Walker told officers that Filan attacked her and was still alive when she left his house.
"What exactly is she doing for those five hours?" Bowden asked. "She's coming up with her story. ... It's like a script. She's getting ready to go. She's ready to spin this."
Prosecutors claim Filan argued with Walker and a second prostitute about money and sex — and eventually snatched back his cash from Walker. That's when she got angry and stabbed him, Bowden said.
"She doesn't have to pull a knife to get money," Walker's defense attorney Patrick O'Byrne said during his closing argument. "All she's gotta do is take off her clothes."
O'Byrne pointed out that nothing was stolen from Filan's house and that Walker fled right after the attack.
As O'Byrne got on the floor and re-enacted the stabbing for jurors Thursday, he called Filan's wounds "fairly superficial." O'Byrne said most of the slashes were less than a fraction of an inch deep, which was more suggestive of self-defense than murder.
What happened to Filan was "absolutely horrendous," O'Byrne said.
"But what's the other side of the coin? That could've been Alicia Walker there dead," he said.
"Superficial wounds? Really?" Assistant State's Attorney Jim Papa scoffed during his rebuttal argument. "The guy is dead. [She hit] the heart, the liver, the kidney, the spleen. I mean — what other organs are there?"
Prosecutors said Walker didn't have defensive wounds when she was interviewed five days after the stabbing.
In a videotaped statement that was played for jurors Tuesday, Walker told police that Filan physically attacked her. She claimed Filan grabbed a kitchen knife first, and she wrestled it away from him.
"He was cussing me out, saying, 'You stupid b----. I don't believe you,'" Walker said in the video. "Once I saw he had a knife, my adrenaline kicked in. I was not going to let that happen to me."
According to court testimony, Filan was 5-foot-5 and weighed 138 pounds, while Walker was 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds.
Investigators earlier this week said there were empty Bud Light cans and an open tequila bottle in Filan's house.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: