Tragedy At The University Of Pittsburgh Last Sunday

Last Sunday, October 8th, 20 year old college student, Alina Sheykhet was found dead on the second floor of her Cable Place home by her parents.


Alina was a junior at the University of Pittsburgh.  She moved to America from Russia with her family when she was 5 years old.  Alina graduated from Montour High School and planned to be a Physical Therapist.  She was described by her parents and friends as “beautiful and smart” with a “bright future.”  

Investigators arrived at 8:56 am Sunday morning and pronounced Alina dead due to blunt and sharp force trauma that occurred sometime the night before.  It was officially ruled a homicide.  Neighbors were questioned and all said that they heard nothing and saw nothing until police arrived in the morning.

Matthew Darby, Alina’s ex-boyfriend was seen on surveillance footage a block away from her apartment the night of Alina’s death.  It was reported that he called for a car from Duquesne University around 4:21 am that night and asked the driver to take him to Cable Place, Alina’s neighborhood.  Darby instructed the driver to park a street away and asked the driver to wait for ten minutes for him to return.  After the ten minutes were over, Darby reportedly called the driver in a whisper and asked for him to wait again.  He did this several more times until the driver became frustrated, cancelled the service, and drove away.  Footage then shows Darby walking away from Alina’s home.  It also shows him drop several objects into two separate gutters as he walked.  These items were discovered to be a claw hammer and two stainless steel knives and are believed to be the murder weapons.  The weapons were obtained by Darby from Alina’s basement, which is also the part of the building where Darby broke into the home.  

Darby quickly fled to Myrtle Beach, SC.  He was charged Tuesday by the Pittsburgh Police with homicide, burglary, theft, possession of instruments of a crime, and flight to avoid apprehension.  He did not elude the police for very long though, because he was arrested in Myrtle Beach Wednesday morning for loitering when a 78 year old woman reported seeing a man attempting to break into her home Tuesday night.  Two officers from the Pittsburgh Police Department went down to Myrtle Beach to question Darby but he did not speak with them, following the advisement of his attorney, David Shrager.  Darby will be moved to Pittsburgh by the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department in two to three weeks.  

This was not Darby’s first arrest.  He was arrested in February for the rape of another ex-girlfriend in Indiana County.  His bail was set at $10,000 for that trial in March of this year.  He also reportedly raped a 17 year old girl just shortly before the murder of Alina on September 26th in Elizabeth Township.  Darby also already had legal history with Alina Sheykhet.  A few weeks after she ended her two year relationship with Darby, on September 20th, he broke into her home.  Alina alerted the police and filed to get a PFA, Protections From Abuse, against Darby.  That PFA was granted on October 5th, just three days before the murder.  After the PFA was granted, Alina cut off all communication with Darby, including blocking his number.  Darby attempted to call Alina 5 times the night of her murder before he left Duquesne University.  

Unfortunately, sources say there are several ways that this tragedy could have been prevented.  When Darby was arrested for breaking into Alina’s home on September 20th, he should have been held without bail because of his previous arrest in Indiana County.  This did not occur however, because the two counties did not communicate well enough with each other.  

Also, there is currently a bill in the Pennsylvania Senate that requires all defendants in PFA cases who are deemed especially dangerous by the judge on their case to wear an electronic tracking device.  The judge in Alina’s PFA case said that he believed Darby was a big threat to Alina.  If this tracking device had been used on Darby, he would have been arrested as soon as he arrived at Alina’s home.


Perhaps if police departments in different counties find better ways to communicate, and legislation is passed that protects victims of abuse, tragedies like this can be prevented in the future.               



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette