Accused killer visited Duquesne before Pitt attack

Raymond Arke | News Editor

10/12/17

The man accused of killing a University of Pittsburgh student was on Duquesne’s campus hours before, attempting to enter Brottier Hall, Pittsburgh Police said this week.

Police charged Matthew Darby with the killing and said he visited two buildings on campus and interacted with Duquesne Police before taking an Uber to the victim’s house in Oakland.

Alina Sheykhet, a University of Pittsburgh junior, was found dead by her parents in her apartment in Oakland at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 8, according to the complaint. Sheykhet suffered severe trauma to the head, including a fractured skull, along with losing seven teeth, the complaint said.

The immediate suspect was Darby, with whom Sheykhet had a “tumultuous relationship,” wrote Pittsburgh Police Detective Clifton Pugh in the complaint. Darby was an ex-boyfriend who had recently broken into Sheykhet’s apartment on Sept. 20. Pittsburgh Police responded to that break-in and filed criminal trespass charges. Darby was released on bond and told to have no contact with Sheykhet, according to the complaint.

On Sept. 21, Sheykhet filed for a Protection from Abuse order against Darby. The restraining order was served on Oct. 5.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 8, Darby was seen on Duquesne’s campus.

“Detectives learned that Matthew Darby arrived at the campus … and was observed [by Duquesne’s] video system at around [3:19 a.m.],” Pugh said in the complaint.

The complaint said Duquesne University Police then made contact with Darby, during which Darby said he was looking to meet a friend in Brottier Hall. Duquesne Police escorted him to Brottier.

The person Darby was hoping to meet was unavailable, and he was denied access to the living area, according to the complaint.

Pugh said in the complaint that Darby was then escorted to the Student Union, where he had contact with a Duquesne University employee. The complaint said the employee lent Darby a phone charger, and Duquesne Police observed Darby in the lobby of the Union charging his phone.

At 4:21 a.m. video surveillance showed Darby enter a vehicle from a car service that picked him up in front of Brottier Hall, the complaint said. He was dropped off on Cable Street in Oakland. Video surveillance shows a man matching Darby’s profile make his way in the direction of Sheykhet’s residence.

Darby was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on the morning of Oct. 11, according to a video statement by the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Darby will be extradited back to Pennsylvania, where he faces charges of one count of criminal homicide, one count of burglary, one count of flight to avoid apprehension, one count of theft by unlawful taking and one count of possessing instruments of crime.

Bridget Fare, chief marketing and communication officer for Duquesne, said that since Pittsburgh Police are handling the case, Duquesne Police will not be releasing information on it.

Fare said that Darby has no connection to Duquesne.

“While the suspect was on our campus that night, he is not affiliated with Duquesne. The University is fully cooperating with the City in its investigation,” she said.

Two classmates of Darby at University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg were with him in the early morning hours of Oct. 8 and reached out to The Duke.

Preferring to remain anonymous, the two students had known of Darby for the past three years from seeing him on campus there although they were not friends. The students were in the South Side with another group on Oct. 7 into Oct. 8. As they were drinking in Mario’s bar, they said Darby approached them.

“[Darby] came up behind me and took off [my bandana] and gave me a shove,” one of the students said.

They described the encounter as awkward and unexpected.

“We were like, ‘Hey, how’s it going? Who are you here with?’ We asked him ‘Who are you here with?’ about four or five times, and he just kept deflecting,” the second student said.

They both described Darby as acting aggressive, cutting in line at a food truck and blowing cigarette smoke in the face of a bouncer. They said Darby had been drinking.

The last time the two students saw Darby was around 1:10 a.m. on Oct. 8. They estimate that they spent about 30-45 minutes with him before he left their group.

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