PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The man police are looking for in connection with the murder of a Pitt student over the weekend is now facing criminal homicide charges.
Matthew Darby is the ex-boyfriend of 20-year-old Alina Shekyhet, who was found bruised and badly beaten in her Oakland apartment early Sunday morning by her parents who called for help. Paramedics then pronounced her dead at the scene from blunt force trauma.
In addition to criminal homicide, Darby is also facing counts of burglary, flight to avoid apprehension, theft by unlawful taking and possessing instruments of crime.
— Julie Grant (@JulieGrantEsq) October 10, 2017
According to the criminal complaint, Darby was seen early Sunday morning on Duquesne University’s campus. He told campus police that he was meeting a friend at Brottier Hall.
When the friend was unavailable, investigators say Darby called a car service that took him from the university to Oakland. The driver told authorities that’s where the suspect got out and started walking in the direction of Sheykhet’s apartment.
The criminal complaint says Darby asked the driver to wait for him several times. The third time, the driver says the man called him, and “in a whispered voice,” asked to wait another 10 minutes. At that point, the driver left.
Police say surveillance video from Oakland businesses shows the suspect dropping objects down a sewer grate and into a dumpster.
During a search, police later found a claw-type hammer and two stainless steel knives in the same sewer.
The criminal complaint also reports phone records show five unanswered calls from Darby to Sheykhet’s missing cell phone. They all came in less than an hour of each other in the early morning hours of Sunday.
On Sept. 20, Sheykhet filed an application for a PFA against Darby for breaking into the second floor window of the home she was renting on Cable Street in Oakland. Darby was arrested for the break-in and charged with criminal trespass. He was released after posting $10,000 bond.
In the PFA, Sheykhet said Darby was upset that she broke up with him.
Investigators say the autopsy showed Sheykhet’s skull was fractured in two places, she had severe trauma to her mouth from a sharp-edged weapon, a broken nose, some of her teeth had been knocked out and her tongue had severe lacerations.
The cause of her death has been listed as sharp/blunt force trauma to the head and the manner was ruled as homicide.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Sheykhet’s family. More than $5,000 has already been raised. If you would like to help, visit this link.
Police are still searching for Darby, but earlier on Tuesday afternoon, his attorney pleaded with him that it was time to turn himself in.
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports —
Attorney David J. Shrager first read a statement from Darby’s parents during a press conference:
“Matthew, son, we have always handled things as a family. Together, we can get through anything. God is still God, and we stand on his word. We are pleading with you to contact your attorney. You told me just last Friday that you trusted David and he would see you through these issues. He still will, but you have to call, text or email him. We know you are scared and probably think things are stacked against you, please trust us and know that doing the right thing is always best. Turn yourself in to David and we will work through this as a family. Your mother and I love you with all our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family.”
Shrager then issued his own plea to Darby, before the homicide charge was filed, echoing the sentiments of his parents.
“Matthew, call me, text me, e-mail me, please. You have not been charged with anything regarding this crime. We can work through this together. I can assure you will be treated fairly and I can assist you. Please turn yourself in before this escalates. There is a warrant for your arrest for violation of the PFA. We can deal with that. We can also deal with these allegations. But, if you don’t turn yourself in, we cannot help you. Please turn yourself in or call me, text me, e-mail me, we will do whatever we can to assist you. Your family is behind you and we will help you.”
Darby is also charged in a February rape case in Indiana County brought by another former girlfriend who claims the assault came after she broke up with him and he called her 33 times in one night. When she relented and allowed him to come over to apologize, she told investigators that Darby controlled her by pulling her hair and raped her.
Shrager says Darby claims the incident was consensual. He says he was with Darby in court in Indiana on that case just last Friday.
“I never sensed anything from him that made me feel there was any mental health issues,” Shrager said.
Police believe Darby may be driving a 2013 black Chevrolet Cruze with Pennsylvania license plate HBT-1677.
As the search continues for Darby, family and friends will bury Sheykhet on Wednesday.
Anyone who knows Darby’s whereabouts is asked to call police at (412)-323-7800.
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