Man collapses, dies after arson conviction

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 30 at 6:14 AM

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix man collapsed and died Thursday afternoon after being found guilty of arson.

Michael Marin, 53, put his hands to his mouth after the verdict was announced. Minutes later he collapsed in the courtroom.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, it appeared that Marin put some sort of substance in his mouth. MCSO is awaiting toxicology reports from the medical examiner to confirm if he did take something and what the substance was.

Marin was transported to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

The banker, art collector, adventurer and one-time multimillionaire will now also be remembered as an arsonist.

Marin's Biltmore home burned down in July 2009.

When firefighters arrived at the early morning inferno, they found Marin had donned a scuba tank and mask as he was scrambling to get out of the smoke and flames. He then crawled out of a second-story window and climbed down an emergency ladder.

Prosecutors said this was not a narrow escape, but a well thought-out plan because Marin was in deep financial trouble.

He was broke, in part because of that home, and he couldn't sell or refinance it. Prosecutors believe the thought of a $650,000 insurance payout after a house fire was Marin's motive, and he used the ladder and scuba gear to protect himself as he set the fire.

On Thursday, a jury found Marin guilty of arson of an occupied structure. Prosecutors said when the trial began in May that a guilty verdict could mean a sentence of up to 16 years in prison.

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