Jury Finds Grad Student Guilty of First-Degree Murder

(NationRise.com) – A man has been found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder after shooting and killing a hydrology professor at his former college.

Murad Dervish, 48, has been convicted of killing Thomas Meixner in October 2022 near his work office. The 52-year-old professor who led the Department of Hydrology at the University of Arizona was shot 11 times. Dervish was studying at the school for a master’s degree.

The school banned him from its campus in early 2022 after confrontations with previous professors over poor grades. He was later expelled as well. The school spent the next month passing out fliers warning officials and students to call the police if Dervish was seen on campus.

According to witnesses, Dervish wore a hat and mask to disguise himself. That allowed him to reach Meixner’s office, where he shot him before fleeing the scene. Police found and arrested him a few hours later. He was pulled over on a busy road about 120 miles from Tucson. The weapon was still in his vehicle.

Dervish’s lawyer, Leo Marsurksy, said his client committed the crime because he was suffering from a psychotic break. That, he claimed, stemmed from a history of mental health issues, including autism with schizoid features and depression. He also claimed that there was no premeditation in the crime. Therefore, he suggested that jurors recommend a lesser sentence that would have him sent to a psychiatric ward in place of prison.

However, Mark Hotchkiss, a prosecutor for Pima County, said the investigation uncovered evidence that the murder was planned in advance. He especially noted Dervish’s purchase of a firearm the month before he shot the professor. He concluded that Dervish was simply guilty, not insane.

The jury agreed. It only took them a few hours to reach the verdict against Dervish. He appeared not to show emotion after hearing the verdict. His sentencing is scheduled for June 24th. There is a strong chance that he will be sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2024, NationRise.com