PEOPLE Explains: Case of Pitt Student, 20, Allegedly Killed by 'Possessive' Ex

Alina Sheykhet had a protection order against her allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend, Matthew Darby

In October, University of Pittsburgh student Alina Sheykhet was found dead in a pool of her own blood by her father in her Oakland, Pennsylvania home.

The 20-year-old’s death was ruled a homicide from apparent blunt force trauma to the head, according to CBS.

Since then, Matthew Darby, 21, her ex-boyfriend, has been charged in her murder. On Friday, it was determined that Darby would go to trial.

Here are six things to know about the case.

1. She Was Found in Pool of Her Own Blood With ‘Chop and Stab Wounds” to Head and Face

On Oct. 8, Sheykhet was discovered dead by her father at her Oakland home after he broke down the door to her bedroom, according to the Tribune-Review. Her parents became concerned when she didn’t show up earlier that day to meet them at a breast cancer walk, according to the outlet.

“Her dad was screaming she had a hole in her head,” Rebecca Kubiczki, Sheykhet’s roommate, said on the stand last Friday during a preliminary hearing for Darby, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Sheykhet’s body had “multiple chop and stab wounds to the head and face,” according to the Post-Gazette. Police announced Darby as a person of interest a day after finding her body.

2. Suspect and Victim Dated On and Off for Two Years

Darby appeared in court Friday, where it was determined he would go to trial on charges of homicide, burglary, theft, flight to avoid apprehension and possessing an instrument of a crime.

Pittsburg Police Dept.

Darby is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in the middle of the night after they dated on and off for more than two years, Pittsburgh police said at the time of his arrest.

3. Victim Had Restraining Order Against Suspect — Who Roommate Described as ‘Possessive’

According to a report by the Associated Press, Sheykhet had a restraining order against Darby at the time of her death.

Sheykhet wrote in her protection filing that Darby allegedly climbed up the gutter of her home and broken in through a second-floor window. He was charged with trespassing and has not entered a plea, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.

“He did this because I left him and stopped answering his phone calls,” she alleged in the filing, according to the AP. The order was granted.

Sheykhat’s family and friends attended Darby’s hearing last Friday, which included 10 witnesses called by prosecutors that painted a disturbing picture of the couple’s relationship and the night of Sheykhet’s death, according to CBS.

Sheykhet’s roommate described Darby as allegedly controlling, the Post-Gazette reports.

According to Kubiczki, Sheykhet allegedly often had to change the password to her social media accounts to stop Darby from accessing them. But Darby would allegedly force Sheykhet to tell him her new passwords, Kubiczki recalled, and sometimes pretended to be her and block friends from her account.

“He was possessive. He wouldn’t let her do things,” Kubiczki told the court, the Post-Gazette reports.


4. Suspect’s Lawyer: ‘No Eyewitness Testimony Nor Forensic Evidence’ Tying Him to Crime

In a statement to PEOPLE, Darby’s attorney, David Shrager, tells PEOPLE, said, “After hearing all of the state’s witnesses that day, I was struck by what they didn’t have. There is absolutely no eyewitness testimony nor forensic evidence directly tying my client to any crime and we look forward to our day in court when we will be able to tell our side of the story.”

5. Suspect Has Prior Arrests for Alleged Violence Against Women

The 21-year-old has had prior arrests for alleged violence against women, according to court documents. In February, in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, he was charged with rape, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and additional charges against a different ex-girlfriend.

He pleaded not guilty, Shrager tells PEOPLE.


Darby is also facing a rape charge in Allegheny County but has not entered a plea.

6. Victim’s Father: ‘I Lost My Beautiful Princess’

Days after his daughter’s death, Sheykhet’s father, Yan Sheykhet, described his daughter as a bright and vivacious girl who aspired to be a physical therapist, according to the Tribune-Review.

“It was her dream,” he said. “And she worked so hard. She was the best person in the world.”

“I lost my beautiful princess,” he continued. “I don’t know what else to say.”

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