Graduate Student Who Used to Go to the University of Arizona Gets Life in Prison for Killing a Professor on Campus

Graduate Student Who Used to Go to the University of Arizona Gets Life in Prison for Killing a Professor on Campus

TUCSON, Ariz. — A graduate student at the University of Arizona was given a life sentence without the chance of release on Monday for killing a hydrology professor on campus months after being kicked out of school.

The death of Thomas Meixner, who was shot 11 times near his office on October 5, 2022, was found guilty by a Pima County jury last month. Dervish was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Meixner, who was 52 years old, was in charge of the university’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. Dervish, who was 48 years old, was getting his master’s degree in atmospheric studies.

The school said Dervish was banned in January 2022 and later kicked out for having ongoing problems with teachers after getting a bad grade.

Before finding Dervish guilty on May 21, the jury had been deliberating for less than three hours.

A bullet that hit a building manager and caused minor injuries was one of the five other felonies he was found guilty of.

Dervish’s lawyer said during the trial that his client was having a psychotic episode at the time of the killing. He asked the jurors to think about a lesser charge of second-degree murder, which could have led to him being locked up in a psychiatric hospital instead of a prison cell.

But officials said there was proof that Dervish planned to kill Meixner and bought a 9 mm handgun a month before he did it.

A criminal complaint says that in February 2022, a flyer with a picture of Dervish was sent to university staff with orders to call 911 if Dervish ever came into the John W. Harshbarger Building, which is where Meixner worked.

The lawsuit also said that Dervish wasn’t allowed on school property and that he had harassed and threatened Harshbarger staff members more than once.

Witnesses said Dervish was hiding his identity when he showed up outside of Meixner’s office and shot the professor. He was wearing a medical mask and a baseball cap.

Dervish ran away, but three hours later he was caught when Arizona state police stopped his car on a highway more than 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Tucson.

The police said they found a loaded handgun in the car, and the ammunition was the same as what they found in the shell casings at the scene of the killing.

Kathleen Meixner said in a statement after the sentencing, “The man who killed my husband will spend the rest of his life in prison, but that doesn’t bring Tom back.” “My sons will never see their dad again in this life.” A beloved professor died at the University of Arizona. The world lost a very smart expert.

Source: AP

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