A Paradise Valley man convicted of deliberately burning down his $3.5 million Biltmore Estates mansion in 2009 collapsed in the courtroom just moments after the verdict was read. Video from inside the Phoenix courtroom showed 53-year-old Michael Marin having some type of medical episode shortly after the verdict was read. With the jury already cleared out of the courtroom, the judge and lawyers began discussing aggravating factors. Marin is seen taking a drink from a bottle of an unknown liquid when his face suddenly turned red and he began to make throat-clearing noises before collapsing to the floor. People in the courtroom rushed to his aid and someone is heard saying, “Call 911.” His attorneys tried to assist him and paramedics were called. Paramedics were doing chest compressions on Marin when Judge Bruce Cohen cleared the courtroom. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Marin was not in custody during the trial and it’s possible he tried to hurt himself by ingesting something. Authorities are now awaiting toxicology results and are also testing his water bottle.
Authorities had said Marin torched his $3.5 million Biltmore Estates mansion in July 2009 after it failed to sell at a charity auction. He had offered the 10,000-square-foot property as the grand prize in a raffle to raise money for a Mesa-based child-welfare organization. He told authorities he escaped the blaze by climbing down a rope ladder while wearing a scuba tank and diving mask to protect himself from the smoke. Phoenix Fire Investigators at the time called itarson after they discovered several areas inside the structure where a fire had been ignited. The investigation also turned up residue from an accelerant. It later was discovered that Marin owed payments on the home that he was unable to make. Prosecutors successfully argued that Marin set fire to his own house as a result.
Closing arguments in the case wrapped up Wednesday and the jury read their verdict Thursday afternoon. A Maricopa County Superior Court jury Marin guilty of arson of an occupied structure.
He would have faced up to nearly 16 years in prison with the conviction.
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