A man who had just been convicted of burning down his $3.5 million mansion died in court on Thursday. Did Michael Marin commit suicide in court? Cameras appear to show him swallowing something and washing it down with liquid from a plastic bottle.
Daily Mail reports Marin, 53, was found guilty of arson by a jury in a Maricopa County Superior Court.
According to MyFoxPhoenix, he entered the courtroom at 12:43 on Thursday afternoon holding a plastic bottle in his hand. He took a drink from the bottle before he sat at the defendant's table.
A few minutes later, the jury's verdict was read. The verdict, according to MyFoxPhoenix, read: "We the jury, duly impaneled and sworn in the above entitled action upon our oath, do find the defendant Michael James Marin guilty of arson of an occupied structure."
He appeared very deeply distressed as the verdict was read, burying his head into his hands. Then, he appeared to place something in his mouth. A few minutes later, he once again buried his face in his hands and then, again, he appeared to place something in his mouth. According to MyFoxPhoenx, a closeup of the video appears to show him swallowing.
At 12.52, he drank again from the bottle and turned to talk to some people sitting behind him in the courtroom. As a woman handed him a tissue he began to convulse. The convulsions got more violent and he slowly sank to the ground while people rushed to his assistance.
A cellphone video captured paramedics wheeling him into an ambulance.
Daily Mail reports that his trial began in May. Marin was accused of burning his mansion in Phoenix on July 5, 2009 after he failed to get it sold at a charity auction. Fire department officials concluded after an investigation that the fire was set intentionally. They found several points from which the fire originated in the 6,600 sq ft house.
Marin later confessed to authorities that he started the fire and escaped by climbing from the second floor with a rope ladder. NY Daily News reports fire fighters found Marin wearing a scuba tank and mask after he climbed down the ladder.
No one was injured in the fire but he was charged with arson of an occupied structure.
According to NY Daily News, prosecutors alleged Marin set his house on fire because he was in debt and could no longer afford the $17,250 monthly mortgage payments. Prosecutors said he also stood to gain a $650,000 insurance claim.
According to Daily Mail, a toxicology test will be carried out on the body.
Marin has four children and two grandchildren, Daily Mail reports. He attended Yale Law School. He is a former Wall Street trader who collected art including Picasso sketches. He has scaled Mount Everest and has been on trips in the jungles of south-east Asia. He once described himself as a "careful thrill seeker."
MyFoxPhoenx reports that Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Sprong, said: "We're going to look at everything he had on him just because it looks like he's putting something in his mouth we don't know really what he did prior to that. He could do that to make us think he was taking something and he wasn't and he did something else."
Investigators will also interview people who were close to him, including his family members, friends, and attorneys. Sprong said:"We will obviously contact family to see if this is something he hinted at doing, maybe he left a note you know, it just needs to be thoroughly investigated then hopefully we'll find out why he did it and what he did." He added: "This is something new that I've never seen and I'm sure the courts haven't seen it, I'm sure they'll do everything they can do to ensure it doesn't happen again."