Matthew Darby sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to Pitt student’s murder

By Steve Pope | October 17, 2018

Matthew Darby pleaded guilty Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to the Oct. 8, 2017 slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

Darby, 22, of Hempfield, strangled Alina Sheykhet to death in the early morning hours of Oct. 8, 2017, in the bedroom of her Oakland apartment. Sheykhet was a University of Pittsburgh student and was found later that day by her parents and roommates.

The guilty plea was agreed to by prosecutors and approved by Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning. In exchange for Darby pleading guilty to killing  Sheykhet prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty and Darby was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Darby also pleaded guilty to burglary, theft, trespassing and possessing an instrument of crime in connection with the murder.

According to court documents, Sheykhet obtained a protection from abuse order against Darby two weeks before the slaying because he had assaulted her.

Just after the murder Darby fled to Myrtle Beach, where he was arrested after a resident found him prowling around a home. After his arrest police discovered he was wanted on homicide charges in Pittsburgh.

Court documents alleged that surveillance footage shows Darby tossing items into a sewer, including  two knives and a hammer a few blocks from Sheykhet’s apartment. Traces of Darby’s blood and hair were found on the items.

Steve Pope can be contacted at

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