A surreal scene took place in an Arizona courtroom yesterday. A defendant was convicted of arson and collapsed with convulsions in the courtroom. Witnesses and investigators say they believe they saw the man poison himself before collapsing.

Add in the facts that this man was a graduate of Yale Law School, a former Wall Street banker, and a local celebrity who once climbed Mount Everest, and you’ve just got a very strange and ultimately tragic story….

The New York Daily News reports that Michael Marin was a former Wall Street trader who was convicted of setting his mansion on fire to get out from under his mortgage.

When the verdict was read, Marin placed his hands in front of his mouth. It appeared he was in shock, but then he went into convulsions and collapsed. He was dead before they got him to the hospital.

The Arizona Republic reports that Marin was known about town:

Marin, 53, had fashioned a larger-than-life persona. Tall and distinguished, he had a law degree from Yale University and had scaled Mount Everest. He flew planes and wrote books. He owned a mansion full of fine art in the ritzy Biltmore Estates neighborhood of Phoenix. He had amassed a small fortune — and lost it.

His mansion caught fire in July 2009. Marin said he barely escaped by climbing down a rope ladder from the second floor while wearing a scuba tank and diving mask to protect him from smoke inhalation.

But inside, arson investigators found boxes of flammable debris laid end-to-end through the house from the four ignition points, as if to feed the blaze. Marin was charged with arson of an occupied structure.

There is a video that shows Marin’s last moments:

What video later revealed is that seconds after the verdict was read, Marin rubbed his cupped hands across his face with an expression of dismay. His mouth seemed to open beneath the hands and it appeared as if he swallowed something. Then he took a sports-drink bottle from a briefcase and drank from it.

Seven minutes later, Marin coughed and reached for a tissue handed to him as he sat at the defense table. He buried his bright-red face in his hands and appeared to sob.

But the sobs turned into hoarse snores and whoops as he went into convulsions. Marin dropped to his knees, and then fell face-first on the carpet as his attorneys tried to assist him. They pulled off his tie and opened his shirt, and when he began to vomit a clear liquid, they turned him on his side so he wouldn’t choke.

It appears Marin died en route to the hospital. Investigators are apparently leaning towards poison as the cause of death.

Maybe Marin should have gotten some help after burning his house down, instead of a criminal trial?

Michael Marin, ex-Wall Street banker, may have swallowed poison pill during courtroom conviction for arson [New York Daily News]
Man found guilty of Phoenix arson, collapses in courtroom [AzCentral]


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