Published June 29, 2012
An Arizona man convicted of burning down his mansion died after reportedly swallowing a pill during his guilty verdict.
In a scene captured on video, Michael Marin, 53, was clutching a bottle in hand as he stood in a Phoenix courtroom, waiting for a verdict in his arson case. As the verdict is announced, Marin is seen cupping his hands over his head, closing his eyes, and appearing to swallow something. Within minutes, he began convulsing and then collapsed on the Maricopa County courtroom floor. He was sent to the hospital and where he was later pronounced dead.
Although the video appeared to show Marin committing suicide, the cause of death won't be confirmed until a toxicology report is released in a few weeks.
"We're going to look at everything he had on him just because it looks like he's putting something in his mouth we don't know really what he did prior to that. He could do that to make us think he was taking something and he wasn't and he did something else," Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jeff Sprong told MyFoxPhoenix.
Marin was convicted of setting fire to his 6,600-square-foot Phoenix mansion on July 5, 2009, after it did not sell during a charity auction. He was desperately trying to sell his home because he could not pay his mortgage.
During the blaze, Marin escaped the second floor using a rope ladder and wearing a scuba-diving suit. Firefighters later found several distinct points of origin at the four-garage mansion when investigating the incident.
Had he lived, Marin would have faced 16 years in prison.
Marin attended Yale Law School and was an ex-Wall Street trader.