Former Student Found Guilty of Murdering Professor

Former Student Found Guilty of Murdering Professor

( – A former University of Arizona student has been convicted of murdering his professor. The jury took three hours to find 48-year-old Murad Dervish guilty of killing Thomas Meixner, who was shot dead on the university’s campus in 2022. Dervish was convicted on five counts, including first-degree murder and aggravated assault, for injuring a building manager with a stray bullet.

Thomas Meixner led the college’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, and Dervish was a student in the atmospheric sciences master’s degree program. His grievances against the professor began with a bad grade in early 2022. Dervish was eventually banned from the school following issues with professors, and a flyer was distributed warning staff to call 911 if he was seen on college grounds. He was accused on multiple occasions of harassing staff members. Witnesses testified that the killer wore a baseball cap and mask when he approached the professor’s office on the fateful date of October 5, 2022.

During the trial, defense attorneys argued that Dervish was not in control of his actions and he should, therefore, be convicted of second-degree murder and institutionalized at a mental health facility. “He had severe mental health issues. He did not know right from wrong,” defense lawyer Leo Masursky told the jury. He said his client had diagnoses of clinical depression, psychosis, and autism.

Prosecutors, however, insisted that the killer knew what he was doing and had pre-planned the murder. Pima County prosecutor Mark Hotchkiss said Dervish purchased the gun a month in advance and shot Mr. Meixner eleven times as he tried to flee for his life. Hotchkiss furthermore reminded jurors that the shooter fled the scene in a van and refused to stop when pursued by law enforcement officers on Highway 85, heading in the direction of the Mexican border.

Finally, the prosecutor argued that months of harassing and threatening emails aimed at Meixner proved that Dervish did not temporarily lose his mind but decided to kill his professor and then carried it out.

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