Former UArizona Grad Student Sentenced to Life for Professor's Campus Murder
Image By: Rutland Herald

Former UArizona Grad Student Sentenced to Life for Professor’s Campus Murder

After killing a hydrology professor on campus several months after his expulsion from the University of Arizona, a former graduate student was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole on Monday.

Murad Dervish was convicted of first-degree murder by a Pima County jury last month. Thomas Meixner was shot eleven times in the vicinity of his workplace on October 5, 2022.

Meixner, 52, oversaw the Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department at the institution. Dervish, 48, was enrolled in the atmospheric sciences master’s program.

Authorities claim that after receiving a poor mark, Dervish was expelled from the institution in January 2022 due to persistent problems with his lecturers.

On May 21, jurors considered for less than three hours before rendering their decisions regarding

After killing a hydrology professor on campus several months after his expulsion from the University of Arizona, a former graduate student was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole on Monday.

Murad Dervish was convicted of first-degree murder by a Pima County jury last month. Thomas Meixner was shot eleven times in the vicinity of his workplace on October 5, 2022.

Meixner, 52, oversaw the Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department at the institution. Dervish, 48, was enrolled in the atmospheric sciences master’s program.

Authorities claim that after receiving a poor mark, Dervish was expelled from the institution in January 2022 due to persistent problems with his lecturers.

On May 21, jurors considered for less than three hours before rendering their decisions regarding Dervish.

In addition, he was found guilty on five other felonies, one of which was aggravated assault when a bullet slightly injured a building manager.

Throughout the trial, Dervish’s lawyer argued that his client was experiencing a psychotic episode when the shooting happened and asked the jury to consider convicting Dervish on a lower charge of second-degree murder, which would have resulted in a mental health facility rather than a jail cell.

Prosecutors, however, claimed that evidence demonstrated Dervish plotted Meixner’s murder and purchased a 9 mm handgun one month prior to the crime.

Read Also: Oakland Mayor Responds to FBI Raid: ‘I’ve Done Nothing Wrong’

Then, in February 2022, a leaflet with a photo of Dervish was distributed to university employees, along with a warning to dial 911 should Dervish ever set foot in the John W. Harshbarger Building, where Meixner was employed, according to a criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, Dervish was also prohibited from using school property and was the target of multiple allegations of intimidation and harassment directed towards Harshbarger staff members.

Witnesses claimed that when Dervish shot the professor outside Meixner’s office, he was disguising himself with a baseball cap and surgical mask.

After being halted by Arizona state troopers on a route more than 120 miles (190 kilometers) northwest of Tucson, Dervish ran from the scene but was apprehended three hours later.

According to the authorities, a loaded handgun and ammo that matched the shell casings discovered at the shooting scene were discovered inside the car.

Following the sentencing, Kathleen Meixner released a statement saying, “The man who took my husband’s life will spend the rest of his life in prison, but that doesn’t bring Tom back. My sons will never see their father again in this life. The University of Arizona lost a treasured professor. The community lost a brilliant scientist.”

Reference

profile
With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.