Suspicious Death, Did Arsonist Ingest Poison After Guilty Verdict
ABC15.com Staff Reporting, Courtesy CNN
PHOENIX, Arizona — A Valley man who died Thursday shortly after being found guilty of arson apparently ingested something just before collapsing in a Phoenix courtroom.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jeff Sprong said it looked like Michael Marin put something in his mouth seconds after hearing the verdict.
Video from inside the courtroom shows Marin’s face turning red as he appears to swallow something. Then, two minutes and forty seconds later, he turned around, started to cough and began to convulse.
Phoenix fire officials said he died at a local hospital a short time later.
ABC15 cameras were inside the courtroom as the events unfolded. We’ve made the editorial decision to show only part of the incident since it resulted in Marin’s death. You can watch the video in the attached player, however it may be graphic for some viewers.
Marin was convicted Thursday of burning down his Biltmore Estates home in July 2009. He was facing 10 to 21 years in prison.
The 53-year-old was arrested in August 2009, accused of setting fire to the $3.5 million mansion.
Investigators at the time discovered several areas inside the structure where a fire had been ignited. The investigation also turned up residue from an accelerant.
Officials said Marin owed payments on the home that he was unable to make. Prosecutors believe an insurance payout was the motive in the case.
Marin told investigators he escaped the fire by climbing down a foldout ladder wearing scuba diving gear to protect himself from the smoke.
Closing arguments in the case wrapped up Wednesday and the jury read their verdict Thursday afternoon. Marin was found guilty of arson of an occupied structure.