Defendant took cyanide after guilty verdict

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Wall Street trader who collapsed in court after being found guilty of arson and later died committed suicide by taking cyanide, according to an autopsy released Friday.

The Maricopa County medical examiner’s office toxicology tests showed Michael Marin, 53, had the poison in his system. The report also noted an apparent suicide note emailed by Martin shortly before his death and cyanide found in his car afterward.

After he was found guilty of arson in June, Marin put his head in his hands and appeared to put something in his mouth. He then drank from a sports bottle.

Marin was not in custody during his trial.

Defendants who aren’t in custody and other people entering courthouses aren’t strip-searched, so it’s possible to hide something like pills in a pocket or elsewhere on their person, said Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose officers are responsible for custody of prisoners and providing security in courtrooms.

Court security personnel screen visitors arriving in the courthouses.

A court spokeswoman did not immediately respond to queries from the Associated Press.

Marin’s death was a bizarre ending to a case that began in 2009 when he emerged from his burning Phoenix-area mansion in scuba gear.

Prosecutors said he torched his home when he couldn’t keep up with the payments. Marin faced seven to 21 years in prison.

Marin had summited Everest and wrote on his Facebook page that he had scaled six of the world’s seven tallest mountains. He also was an art collector who had original Picassos.

Prosecutors painted him as a desperate man who had $50 in his bank account in July 2009, down from $900,000 a year earlier. He also had a monthly mortgage payment on the mansion of $17,250 and an upcoming balloon payment of $2.3 million.

Marin also owed $2,500 a month on a different home and owed $34,000 in taxes, prosecutors said.

On July 5, 2009, Marin told investigators that he escaped a blaze in his 10,000-square-foot mansion using a rope ladder and wearing scuba gear to avoid inhaling smoke.

Fire investigators later determined the blaze was intentionally set.

Arpaio said investigators determined Martin bought the cyanide about a year ago, about the time he reportedly told family members “he could not go back to jail and would do something drastic if found guilty.”

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting

News Tribune - comments