Student Murad Dervish convicted in the murder of University of Arizona professor Thomas Meixner

Mugshot of Murad Dervish
Murad Dervish is facing a lengthy sentence following a conviction for first-degree murder. Pic credit: The University of Arizona Police Department

Murad Dervish, a former student at The University of Arizona in Tucson, has been convicted of the first-degree murder of his professor, Thomas Meixner.

On October 5, 2022, Dervish entered the John W. Harshbarger Building on campus and gunned down the university’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, 52-year-old Meixner. He wore a surgical mask and baseball cap to disguise his appearance.

Meixner had sprinted down a hallway in an attempt to escape, but Dervish shot his victim 11 times, emptying his magazine.

The cops caught up to Dervish three hours later as he drove down Highway 85 toward Mexico. The killer refused to stop, which led to a 3-mile car chase before the police forced him off the road.

Dervish, now 48, was a graduate student working on a master’s degree program in atmospheric sciences.

The killer was already banned from campus and eventually expelled after he spent a year harassing academic staff. He allegedly received a bad grade, which led to his anger issues.

Defense team claimed Murad Dervish had psychotic episode when he killed Thomas Meixner

Dervish’s defense team, led by Leo Masursky, argued that their client should be convicted guilty but insane of second-degree murder. The lawyer claimed his client was having a psychotic episode at the time of the murder and didn’t understand what he was doing.

Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel

Masursky told the court, “Murad Dervish lost his mind on October 5, 2022. He had severe mental health issues. He did not know right from wrong” and suggested the suspect be confined to a psychiatric hospital.

In contrast, Pima County prosecutor Mark Hotchkiss argued that the murder was premeditated and pointed out the killer had purchased the murder weapon, a 9 mm handgun, a month before the shooting.

Murad Dervish is facing a lengthy sentence for University of Arizona Thomas Meixner murder

The trial was notable for a few dramatic outbursts from Dervish, which may have aided his insanity plea. However, the jury ultimately sided with the prosecution, and he was convicted of first-degree murder.

Dervish was also convicted of five other felony counts, including aggravated assault for a bullet that grazed another member of staff. He showed zero emotion when the verdict was read out and is now facing a possible life sentence.

Meixner’s widow, Kathleen Meixner, broke down in tears when the verdict was announced, and a member of her group called out, “We got justice for him.”

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x