Lawyer Poisons Himself In Court After Being Found Guilty Of Arson

Michael Marin was the very image of a powerhouse lawyer: a Yale Law School graduate who went on to find success as a Wall Street trader who climbed Mount Everest, collected valuable art works and supported charities. The bon vivant seemed to be living the life of legend until he was charged with burning down his own Biltmore Estates mansion in Arizona. Shortly after being convicted of arson in court, Marin was seen putting something in his mouth. He promptly collapsed and died.

The terrible scene was the end of a bizarre downward spiral that prosecutors insist was caused by Marin’s growing debts. Marin was in the news when he made a remarkable escape from his burning mansion by donning scuba gear to avoid smoke inhalation and climbing down a rope ladder. Investigators were suspicious and eventually accused him of setting numerous fires before setting up the daring exit.

Marin denied that allegations and insisted “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.”

The fire destroyed the 10,766 square foot property, including a four-car garage and about 6,600 square feet of living space. Marin, 53, was the father of four and grandfather of two (with a third on the way).

Marin often discussed his adventures in jungles and mountains, saying “I’m very calm under pressure, and I’ve certainly been tested in that way.” Marin often discussed how he scaled six of the world’s seven tallest mountains. He also was an art collector who had original Picassos.

He certainly showed remarkable composure in the process of poisoning himself — hiding the fact of his poisoning to the last minute.

It is a remarkably sad end to someone who had obvious talent and success in life. His finances had clearly evaporated. In 2008, he had $900,000 in the bank. A year later he had only $50 left in the account with a monthly mortgage payment on the mansion of $17,250 and an upcoming balloon payment of $2.3 million. He also owed another $2,500 a month on a different home — bringing the total to roughly $20,000 a month just in mortgage with another $34,000 owed in taxes.

The fire investigator was suspicious by how readily available the scuba equipment was at the time of the fire.

Here is the video of the courtroom scene:

Source: ABC

76 thoughts on “Lawyer Poisons Himself In Court After Being Found Guilty Of Arson”

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  2. BK, according to the NTSB reports, the microscopic cracks found in the wing spar of Tanker 123 were not observable by any technique currently available. They would only have been found if the wing had been completely disassembled. Internal wing fuel tanks were in the way, so the cracks could not be visualized on inspection, and you have to take the wing apart to get the fuel tanks out.

    And you are right about the crews. You are not going to find qualified aviators willing to do the work for what they pay and with no insurance. Recruiting is more than just putting an ad in the paper or a notice on the bulletin board at your local FBO. The operant words here are “qualified” and “willing.” Kind of like at our house. I was willing. My wife wasn’t. I learned a long time ago to not try winning an argument with a red headed Registered Nurse of Scottish and Irish heritage.

  3. I think the all those old planes need to go thru an x-ray or whatever technology will detect those cracks. New planes are available but competent crews willing to do the work are a rare breed I would expect.

  4. I loved my 1-26. Took it cross country and was afraid of dinging it in a rough or short field – it didn’t need a lot of room. Got a standard Libelle. Took it across country but wasn’t as bold. I was afraid of dinging it. I wasn’t afraid in the air but the ground could be hard. Never land in a field with a cow – one “cow” is a bull. Never land a dope covered a/c in a field with lots of cow – they really are cows but they like the dope and they will trash your glider.

  5. BK, you got it on Schweizer gliders. I have quite a bit of time in a 1-26. They are built strong! One afternoon the thermals were fantastic and the viability great. I used the opportunity to yank the 1-26 around pretty hard, but when I got down, the recording G-meter was pegged at 10G. I have no idea how much over that I went, because the needle was literally against the pet. I got a chewing out by the club safety officer, but the glider did not have a single skin wrinkle or popped rivet. I must admit, I really overdid it.

  6. wow. Both wings came off. I thought that the lowest longevity was among crop dusters: over the trees, skim the ground dumping poison, sharp pullup before trees at the other end. Schweizer made crop dusters as well as gliders. Their gliders are now outperformed by the fiberglass ones but if you’re just out for fun you can’t beat their pilot protection. Also easier and cheaper to fix if you ding them.

  7. Darren, those planes were indeed ticking time bombs, but flying heavy payloads of fire retardant (3,000 gallons @ 8 pounds/gallon = 24,000 pounds) and making maximum performance maneuvers caused the spar to fail sooner than later. Cranking a plane around in a 60 degree bank puts a 2G load on it, meaning that the payload doubles to weigh as much as two fully loaded 18-wheel truck trailers, plus the weight of the plane. A lot of those tankers are older than the pilots who fly them, and were bought on the military surplus market.

  8. OS wrote “Kudos to those crews, and so lift your glass to their bravery and skill.”
    The bravery and kindness (way too simple a word) of these people who take to the air and the ground to go to battle while the rest of us run as far away as possible is simply astounding.

  9. FWIW, I thought the vertical climb of the “model” was suspiciously steep and a long period. But it sure fooled me when the pilot climbs out with the “wingless” right side not shown.

    My admiration, but I think I will stay here on the ground.

  10. Otteray That is certainly something to give pause. From what you describe, the aircraft would have failed eventually and it wasn’t just a matter of deciding to do something (such as going a different direction) might have prevented this from happening. Time bomb certainly comes to mind.

    BettyKath. I’m looking into the glider pilot training now. There’s a club in my hometown that offers lessons. Thanks for the info.

  11. B K, I have seen that before. The plane first seen doing aerobatics is a real plane at an airshow. Notice there is an instant cut just before the plane “lost” its wing. After that, the plane is a radio control scale model of the real plane. I am not sure if the wing was rigged to break off, or it just happened, but the R/C plane is so overpowered (power to weight ratio) the operator could bring it in for a safe landing. The sound track of the engine is from the real airplane, so the model will “sound” like the real thing.

    As for losing wings, the same company that owned Tanker 123 also owned this C-130 which crashed a year or two later. As it turned out, the wing spar broke for exactly the same reason. There were cracks in the spar that could not be visualized on a normal inspection, without literally disassembling the wing, which is next to impossible. That second crash put the company out of business and its assets were sold off for almost no more than scrap value.

  12. OS, glad you missed that flight. Losing a wing is serious business.

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