A formerly successful Wall Street trader apparently committed suicide in court by swallowing a pill after he was found guilty of committing arson. Michael James Marin, who owned a $3.5 million Biltmore Estates mansion in Phoenix that burned to the ground, heard the guilty verdict read, then appeared to swallow something that triggered convulsions. He died on his way to the hospital. Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death.
Marin graduated from Yale Law School, and once successfully climbed Mount Everest, but reports have surfaced that he couldn’t pay the $17,500 monthly mortgage on his lavish home.
Marin, who was found outside his home in SCUBA gear while his house burned down, had been convicted of “arson of an occupied structure.”
But before he was arrested, Marin boasted of his innocence:
“Here’s the unvarnished version from the horse’s mouth. One, you don’t set fire to something that you’re in and then go trap yourself upstairs to make a more dramatic exit. The second thing, if you bore into my finances, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Not only did I not have any incentive personally, I totally had a counter-incentive. The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out.”
But arson investigators were apparently smarter than Marin. And it surfaced that Marin had a collection of 18 original etchings by Pablo Picasso but still had tried to raffle his Biltmore home months after he’d bought it.
Ironically, Marin had said, “I’m very calm under pressure, and I’ve certainly been tested in that way.”