Ex-boyfriend suspected of killing Pitt student arrested in South Carolina


Matthew Darby was arrested in South Carolina Wednesday after he was charged with homicide in Pittsburgh Tuesday. (Pittsburgh Police)

By Rachel Glasser and John Hamilton | The Pitt News Staff

The ex-boyfriend charged with homicide in the death of a Pitt student was arrested Wednesday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Matthew Darby, 21, was charged with homicide Tuesday after his ex-girlfriend, Pitt junior Alina Sheykhet, was found dead in her Oakland apartment Sunday.

Myrtle Beach police arrested Darby Wednesday at 12:45 a.m. after police received a tip that he was “tampering with a window at a residence.” After apprehending Darby at the scene, police soon learned he was wanted for homicide in Pittsburgh, according to a video statement by Myrtle Beach police.

Alina Sheykhet (Via Facebook)

Sheykhet was found dead in her apartment on Cable Place in Oakland Sunday morning by her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Sheykhet traveled to her apartment around 8:30 a.m. to pick her up. One of Alina Sheykhet’s roommates let them into the residence.

After they called their daughter several times with no answer and knocked on her bedroom door with no response, Mr. and Mrs. Sheykhet forced their way into the bedroom. Mr. Sheykhet discovered Alina on the floor of her bedroom. The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office called the death a homicide Monday and said the cause of death was “sharp/blunt trauma of the head.”

Surveillance camera footage shows Darby dropping a shiny object into a sewer gate near Sheykhet’s residence after the crime happened, according to a criminal complaint. Police found a claw type hammer and two stainless steel knives in the sewer gate on Tuesday, which they believe were the weapons used to kill Sheykhet.

The criminal complaint — written by Detective Clifton L. Pugh of the Pittsburgh police — detailed Darby’s whereabouts on Sunday, the night of the homicide. Police said Darby arrived at Duquesne University at 3:19 a.m. He told Duquesne police he was looking to meet a friend at Brottier Hall but the friend was not available, police said in the complaint. He then charged his phone in the school union before a car picked him at 4:41 a.m.

Detectives determined the car was from a commercial car service. They obtained records indicating Darby requested a ride from Duquesne to Cable Place in Oakland, according to the complaint.

Once Darby and driver arrived at Cable Place, according to the driver, Darby requested the driver wait for 10 minutes. About 10 minutes later,Darby returned and asked the driver to wait for another 10 minutes, according to the complaint. Minutes later, the driver received a call on his phone asking him to wait longer, but the driver told the man on the phone he couldn’t wait any longer and ended his fare. The complaint said surveillance cameras confirm the driver’s account.

The complaint said Sheykhet received two phone calls at 4:15 a.m. and three more between 4:54 a.m. and 4:55 a.m. Each call appeared to go unanswered, police said. Sheykhet’s roommates last saw her at 12:30 a.m. before they went to their separate rooms.

Darby’s homicide charge is not the first time he’s been charged with a crime against Sheykhet. Darby was arrested Sept. 26 for breaking into Sheykhet’s Cable Place residence, according to a police statement. He posted the $10,000 bail — but that bail was revoked for a violation of bail release conditions on Sunday.

As a result of the break in, Sheykhet filed a protection-from-abuse order against Darby. The temporary restraining order was served against Darby Oct. 5, according to the criminal complaint.

Sheykhet wrote in the restraining order request that Darby climbed up the gutter on the side of her house and broke through the second-floor window because she stopped returning his calls after they broke up. She also described past incidents of “grabbing, pushing” and “emotional abuse.”

Darby was also arrested in March on charges of rape and sexual assault in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He posted the $10,000 bail Mar. 23 in the active case. Darby’s attorney, David Shrager, said at a Tuesday press conference he thinks he has a good defense in the rape charge case.

Darby was a student at Pitt’s Greensburg campus but withdrew from the University earlier this month, according to Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch.

A memorial sits outside the Cable Place residence where Pitt student Alina Sheykhet was found dead Sunday in an apparent homicide. (Photo by John Hamilton / Managing Editor)

The University expressed condolences to Sheykhet’s family and said they are focused on cooperating with police and supporting the Pitt community.

“The University of Pittsburgh community is heartbroken over the loss of Alina Sheykhet, and we send our deepest sympathies to her family and all who knew her,” Miksch said. “The University Counseling Center will be open for walk-in appointments beginning Monday and can be reached around the clock at (412) 648-7930.”

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