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Jailhouse psych examination recording played in trial of UA Professor's killer

Posted at 4:17 PM, May 16, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In the trial for the death of University of Arizona Professor Thomas Meixner we heard an audio recording of what Murad Dervish told a psychologist in a jailhouse examination. He said it was an injustice when U of A fired and expelled him, and that he thought of revenge as a form of justice.

Dervish told psychologist James Sullivan he didn’t come to campus to kill Thomas Meixner.

"I thought maybe we could have a conversation about things, and about maybe he’d say, 'I’ll see what I can do.' I thought he might fess up to what he had done," Dervish said in the recording.

Dervish says he didn’t bring the gun specifically to attack Meixner, and that he carried the gun all the time because he felt he needed protection.

Dervish said he thought Meixner had a lot to do with his firing and expulsion, and that he might convince Meixner to help undo the damage. He said Meixner might even give him $10,000 from his own pocket to help cover Dervish’s losses.

Dervish mistakenly thought Meixner was Jewish, and was discriminating against Dervish because Dervish is an Arab.

Dervish refused to say in the recording what anyone had said right before the shooting, but told Sullivan and a psychologist in a previous interview that for a short time, he thought his troubles called for revenge.

"I thought that you know, like, taking my revenge was like the way that I could get justice," Dervish said in the recording.

But Dervish also said he understands now that revenge is wrong.

If the jury concludes Dervish knew he was doing wrong as he shot Meixner, he will go to prison instead of a mental hospital.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.