Andrew Alston sat in the Charlottesville Circuit Court on Wednesday, February 16, waiting to hear if his recommended jury sentence of three years behind bars would be lowered. It was not. This was the maximum penalty Alston could receive after the jury's decision in November.
In a prepared statement, Sisk's parents urged this maximum sentence.
"We are no longer parents. That was taken away from us and the close relationship we once shared with our son is gone forever. We can no longer share in his life."
The judge imposed the sentence along with an additional three years probation, which the prosecution wanted.
"I'm pleased the judge added a period of supervised release. I feel that it was kind of necessary in this case, given what was done this case, given the defendants past history," said Commonwealth Attorney, Jon Zug.
Alston was found guilty last November of voluntary manslaughter in the 2003 stabbing death of volunteer firefighter, 22-year-old Walker Sisk. Sisk was stabbed 20 times during a fight that broke out between the two young men and their friends. It happened on the Corner District, along Wertland and 14th streets.
During the trial, the defense claimed Alston was acting in self defense. They issued a motion to dismiss the manslaughter verdict entirely on Wednesday, saying Alston was acting in self defense. That motion was denied.
What may have played a role in the judge's decision was a recorded phone call played in court between Alston and his mother hours after he was convicted. "There really hasn't been any remorse despite what his attorney's have argued," Zug said. In the tape, prosecutors claim Alston showed no remorse for his actions. "I have hours of tape of him and not once did he have any remorse," Zug continued.
The defense however, stated that the recorded conversations did not make a difference and that Alston was truly sorry for what happened. Alston read a statement in court addressing Sisk's family that expressed his sympathies.
"The early morning of November 8, 2003 has haunted me every single day since and it will be with me for every day of the rest of my life. I want the Sisk family to know I think about Walker every day and he will be in my thoughts along with my deep sadness and remorse," said Alston.
"I hope they believe it was a genuine expression of his remorse," said Alston's attorney, John Zwerling.
Zwerling says he may file several appeals. Alston is set to serve his three years in Virginia, although there is no word yet on exactly where. For his probation period however, he may return to Pennsylvania.
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