An Arizona man convicted of setting fire to his own home when he couldn't pay the mortgage was sitting in the middle of a court room listening to his guilty verdict and only minutes later he died. Video footage shows that Michael Marin may have taken an "unknown toxic substance" and committed suicide.
Michael Marin of Arizona appears to put something into his mouth after a guilty verdict. (Image: My Fox Phoenix screenshot)
The My Fox Phoenix affiliate reports the Scottsdale man entered the court room holding a bottle of liquid. He took a long drink, then listened to the verdict. After hearing the words "[...] guilty of arson of an occupied structure" from the jury, Marin can be seen putting his head in his hands, sliding his hands up his face and appearing to place something in his mouth. The proceedings continued and he repeated a similar action, taking a drink, putting his face in his hands and could have placed something in his mouth. At 12:52 p.m., Marin took a final drink. Within 10 minutes, paramedics arrived, and Marin was declared dead.
Watch the My Fox Phoenix report (Warning: Footage of Marin beginning to convulse is included and could be considered disturbing):
He would have faced 16 years in jail had he have lived.
Here's more of a description from Fox of the time between Marin allegedly swallowing something and his death:
A few seconds later, he turned to talk to the people sitting behind him.
A woman handed him tissue, and it's a downward spiral from there.
He began to convulse at first lightly. But quickly it grows more violent. His attorneys called for help.
Marin hunched over, slowly collapsing to the ground as others rushed in to help. Someone asked for someone to call 911 and several people ran to help him.
About 10 minutes later, cell phone video captured paramedics wheeling Marin into an ambulance. He was later declared dead.
Michael Marin is taken to the hospital after allegedly taking a pill or drinking a toxic liquid that could have been the cause of his court room death. (Photo: My Fox Phoenix)
Officials say that they cannot without a doubt verify that Marin actually took something in order to commit suicide and are waiting for a toxicology report that could take up to two weeks to complete. As the Herald Sun points out, he may not have even taken a pill, if cause of death was in fact a toxic substance — it could have been in the "unknown liquid" he was seen drinking.
In the mean time, the authorities are contacting family members and others to see if Marin had hinted at what he might do after a guilty verdict.
"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," said Mericopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Sprong, according to Fox.
Marin burned down his $3.5 million home in 2009 and was found at the time outside in his scuba gear after escaping from a second story window.