Life Sentence for Ex-Student Who Killed Professor at University of Arizona

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Written By Kanisha Laing

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A former University of Arizona graduate student, Murad Dervish, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering a professor on campus in 2022. Dervish, 48, was found guilty of shooting Thomas Meixner, the head of the university’s Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. He will spend the rest of his life in prison, plus an additional 14 years, with no chance of parole.

Dervish was also convicted of other charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, and endangerment. He had been expelled from the university and was not allowed on campus. Dervish had a history of threatening behavior towards Meixner and university staff.

During the sentencing, Meixner’s family requested a life sentence without parole. They described Meixner as kind and intelligent, and spoke of the impact his murder had on them. The university also spoke about Meixner’s contributions and the impact of the shooting on the campus community.

After his family spoke, Dervish addressed the judge, expressing remorse but also claiming the trial was unfair. The judge dismissed his claims and reminded him that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Before the shooting, Dervish had harassed and threatened staff members at the university. He had been banned from university property and was known to have a grudge against Meixner over a bad grade on a test.

Following the sentencing, the Pima County Attorney’s Office announced plans to push for red-flag legislation, which would allow courts to seize firearms from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.

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