State Rep. Kulik reintroduces ‘Alina’s Law,’ named for slain Pitt student
Another state lawmaker is trying to push forward with a law inspired by a University of Pittsburgh student murdered in 2017 by her ex-boyfriend.
State Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik, D-Kennedy, on Thursday introduced House Bill 588, or Alina’s Law, a year after a similar bill passed the state Senate but was never brought up for a vote in the House.
The bill would give judges the discretion and option to order the defendant in a protection from abuse order to wear an electronic monitoring device.
The proposed law is named for 20-year-old Alina Sheykhet, who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, Matthew Darby, at her off-campus apartment Oct. 8, 2017.
Sheykhet had filed for a PFA about a month prior, and the final order was granted three days before Darby broke in to the Cable Place apartment and killed her.
“Alina, who was a member of the community and whose parents still reside in my district, did her part by filing a PFA against her ex-boyfriend, but it wasn’t enough,” Kulik said in a press release. “The threat on her life fell through the cracks of the state system, and as a result she lost her life.”
Darby pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in October, and he is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The law began to take shape in the months following Sheykhet’s killing. The American Civil Liberties Union emerged in opposition of the law.
“That’s just basically one step below house arrest for those people,” Nyssa Taylor, ACLU Pennsylvania’s criminal justice policy counsel, said in late 2017. “That’s an extraordinary restriction on someone’s liberty without due process.”
But Kulik said Thursday the continued domestic violence-related murders – 117 across the state in 2017 – means more must be done.
“It’s time the commonwealth did its part by guaranteeing the safety of domestic abuse victims and making sure defendants don’t violate these orders,” she said.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .