Big house bound? Why Alston's still in town


At last year's most notorious murder trial, former UVA student Andrew Alston wound up being convicted of the much less serious crime of voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of local firefighter Walker Sisk.

Compounding the frustration for Sisk's friends and family who believe that Alston– who stabbed Sisk at least 18 times– received a soft sentence is the fact that Alston hasn't yet been transferred to a state prison.

"It's real frustrating," says Sisk's father, Howard. "What little time he got should be in a penitentiary. He's serving at Club Med on Avon."

Since his arrest in November 2003, Alston has been held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail on Avon Street. It was not until February 16 that Alston received his formal sentence: three years, including credit for time already served.

Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesman Larry Traylor says that in all likelihood Alston will end up in a state facility.

"We received the court order February 25, and we have 60 days," to process the order, says Traylor. "We're going to bring him in as soon as possible, as bed space becomes available in our classification intake units."

Howard Sisk is worried that because the killer of his only child has already served 16 months, the Department of Corrections won't take him.

But Traylor says that since he was handed more than a year's sentence, Alston is "probably" going to come into the state system.

Major Roland Buford at the regional jail agrees that the "more than one year" sentence is the deciding factor in where Alston will spend the rest of his time.

"Even if he has only five or six months left, the DOC will most likely pull him," says Buford.

"When we get a list of people who are about to be pulled by the DOC," he adds, "we can have the inmate ready within 24 hours."

Andrew Alston: three years to serve– but where?