Uncivil: Sisks sue son's killer


First there was the horror of losing their only son, Walker Sisk, who died in a pool of blood on 14th street on November 8, 2003, stabbed 18 times by third-year UVA student Andrew Alston.

The ordeal of a trial followed a year later. Barbara and Howard Sisk sat in court to learn the grim details of their 22-year-old son's death– and to hear Alston's defense, which claimed Walker stabbed himself.

No solace came from the trial. The prosecution wanted second-degree murder and 40 years in jail; the jury came back with a voluntary manslaughter conviction and a three-years sentence.

"Obviously, they didn't think our son's life was worth that much," said Howard Sisk after the November 9, 2004, verdict.

Last summer, a juror published an account of the trial and explained how the jurors found no malice in the stabbing– and no second-degree murder– because Alston was "falling-down drunk."

"How can you not find malice when you stab someone that many times?" asked Howard Sisk.

Now the grieving parents are seeking a new round of justice over the loss of their only child. They've filed a $3-million civil suit against Alston "to deter any such violent attacks with deadly weapons upon innocent victims," according to the suit.

Now 24, Alston is scheduled for release from Botetourt Correctional Center June 21. His attorney, Brian Slaughter, was not immediately available for comment.

For the Sisks, reopening the unhealed wound was a difficult decision. "It's the only thing I can do," says Howard Sisk. "It was such a heinous act. I feel this kid will do it again."