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Pitt murder victim sought PFA against ex-boyfriend last month

| Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, 4:18 a.m.
Alina Sheykhet
Alina Sheykhet
Matthew Darby
Matthew Darby

A University of Pittsburgh student found dead in an Oakland home over the weekend had filed a protection from abuse order last month against her former boyfriend, a Greensburg man whom she called controlling and abusive.

Alina Sheykhet, 20, was found dead by her parents on the second floor of the Oakland home just before 9 a.m. Sunday. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene from blunt force trauma.

"We were supposed to pick her up at 8:30 a.m. to go on a dog walk for breast cancer in Allison Park," Alina's father Yan Sheykhet told the Tribune-Review in a telephone interview Monday. "She wasn't answering my call. Nobody was answering the door. I pushed open the door and she was laying on the floor.

"I was screaming, asking her to breathe. But she didn't. There was lots of blood."

Matthew Darby, 21, of Greensburg, has not been charged in Sheykhet's death, but was arrested two weeks ago and charged with one count of felony criminal trespassing related to a Sept. 21 incident at Sheykhet's home.

Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said police are asking for the public's help in locating Darby. Yan Sheykhet said he was told that authorities served Darby with the PFA on Friday at his job at UPS in Greensburg.

Darby played basketball while he was a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2015-16, according to the school's website. He withdrew from the university earlier this month, according to a school spokesperson.

Darby graduated in 2014 from Seneca Valley Senior High School in Butler County.

In Sheykhet's protection from abuse filing, she wrote that Darby had climbed the gutter of her home and broke in through the second floor window the day before.

"He did this because I left him and stopped answering his phone calls," Sheykhet wrote.

The protection order was granted.

Yan Sheykhet said he and his wife, Elly, accompanied their daughter to court last week to obtain the PFA.

"For the last couple of weeks she had told me she tried to stop talking to him," he said of Darby. "She disconnected his phone number, Facebook and all that stuff. I heard his name but I never met him personally."

Toler confirmed the trespassing charge was filed in relation to Darby breaking into Sheykhet's Cable Place apartment last month.

In that criminal case, he was released on $10,000 bail Sept. 26, the same day he was arrested on the trespassing charges. That bail was revoked Sunday.

In an unrelated case, Darby was charged in March with rape, sexual assault and related charges in Indiana County, court records show. He posted that $10,000 bail March 23.

David Shrager, Darby's attorney in both cases, said Monday afternoon it was too soon for him to comment on anything, including on why Darby's bail was revoked Sunday.

Police have not identified a suspect in Sheykhet's killing, which the medical examiner has ruled a homicide.

Sheykhet cited previous instances of alleged abuse in the PFA, including grabbing, pushing and emotional abuse. She called Darby controlling and jealous.

Pittsburgh's police chief on Monday released a statement assuring residents the killing was not a random act of violence, but police remained mum on any further details on the investigation.

"There is no continued threat to Oakland residents and the university communities," Chief Scott Schubert said. "However, releasing additional details at this time could be detrimental to the investigation."

Megan Guza and Ben Schmitt are Tribune-Review staff writers.Megan Guza and Ben Schmitt are Tribune-Review staff writers.

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