Video: Marin dies in courtroom after guilty verdict

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 2 at 9:14 AM

PHOENIX -- Michael Marin collapsed and died Thursday afternoon just minutes after being found guilty of arson.

Courtroom video shows Marin's actions immediately following the guilty verdict. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Marin appeared to put something in his mouth shortly after the guilty verdict was announced. Minutes later he collapsed and was later pronounced dead.

Officials are awaiting toxicology reports from the medical examiner to determine if he did take something and what the substance was.

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

Marin's $3.5 million home in the Biltmore area of Phoenix was destroyed by a fire 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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