Homeowner on trial for allegedly setting fire to Biltmore mansion

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- He is a Yale-educated lawyer, a former Wall Street broker, a would-be artist, and a globe- trotting adventurer who has climbed to the top of Mount Everest.

Now Valley resident Michael Marin is also an accused arsonist currently on trial for allegedly setting his multi-million dollar Biltmore-area mansion on fire in spectacular fashion early one morning in the Summer of 2009.

When firefighters arrived at the 10,000-plus square foot home on the morning in question the flames inside were raging.

"An enormous amount of fire was coming out of the roof," said Captain Jeff Peabody, an arson investigator with the Phoenix Fire Department.

But the most memorable element of the story was the method of escape used by Marin to exit the burning structure.

When firefighters arrived at the early morning inferno they found Marin had donned a scuba tank and a scuba mask as he was scrambling to get out of the smoke and flames.

Wearing the scuba gear, Marin crawled out of a second story window and climbed down an emergency ladder.

Investigators were clearly suspicious from the get-go, and when it was discovered that Marin was allegedly in deep financial trouble and that the fire had allegedly begun at multiple "points of origin," Marin was charged with arson.