The defense attorney for Matthew Darby, charged with the homicide of his ex-girlfriend, read a statement Tuesday afternoon asking Darby to turn himself in.
"We know you are scared and probably think things are stacked against you,” said David Shrager, reading the statement written by Darby’s parents. “Please trust us and know that doing the right thing is always best."
Darby, 21, is wanted for allegedly killing Alina Sheykhet, 20, a Pitt student whose body was discovered Sunday morning at her off-campus home in Oakland.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday night accuses Darby of murdering Sheykhet with a hammer and knives, stealing her phone and fleeing to Westmoreland County.
Channel 11 spoke to Shrager after the complaint was filed, but he had not yet read it. Darby's parents still stand with him, however.
"Right now they're being parents," Shrager said. "They're waiting for the facts, as am I. He's innocent until proven guilty."
Just last month, Sheykhet filed a protection from abuse order against Darby, saying he broke into her house on Sept. 20 and grabbed, pushed and emotionally abused her in the past.
Shrager represented Darby in that September incident.
Darby also has a pending rape case against him in Indiana County. He was supposed to report to a pre-trial services officer Tuesday in relation to that case, but failed to do so, the district attorney told Channel 11.
Because of his absence, the DA is in the process of getting a judge to revoke Darby's bond, making him wanted by law enforcement in two counties.
Shrager was with Darby in court for that rape charge on Friday.
"I didn't notice any behaviors that would give me clues that he was going through something that could end badly, nothing like that,” Shrager said. “He was dressed in a suit and tie; we were there professionally, he was on time, he seemed normal to me."
Darby played basketball at Pitt-Greensburg after being a star player at Seneca Valley High School in 2014.
He recently left the team and the university.
Shrager hopes Darby gets the message from his parents, who also expressed their condolences to Sheykhet's family.
"Please turn yourself in before this escalates,” he said.
Shrager, who said he'll be working on the case and analyzing evidence Wednesday, reiterated that point later Tuesday when Channel 11 spoke with him.
"(His parents) know how serious this is and that he needs to turn himself in," Shrager said. "They love him and support him and want him to reach out to me so we can help him, and they'll be by his side."
Sheykhet's visitation was held Tuesday night.
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