The life and death of Michael Marin

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Michael Marin, banker, art collector, adventurer and one time multi millionaire, will now also be remembered as an arsonist.

This man who lived life large with original Picasso sketches lining his walls in his multimillion dollar Biltmore mansion is the same man who Skyped with 3TV as he scaled Mount Everest in May 2009 and visited with us upon his return in June 2009.

What few knew then was that this one time high roller had already taken a big fall financially.

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.

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.

That sentence will never be handed down. Shortly after the verdict was read, Marin collapsed in court. It was all caught on courtroom video. On that video, it appears that Marin put something in his mouth as he covered his face with his hands.

He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.