A Paradise Valley man found guilty of setting fire to his mansion collapsed in the courtroom and died shortly after the verdict was read Thursday afternoon.
Court officials said the judge and lawyers were discussing aggravating factors and the jury was out of the room when 53-year-old Michael Marin's face suddenly turned red and he collapsed to the floor.
Sgt. Jeff Sprong confirmed what courtroom video showed - Marin appeared to put something in his mouth and take a drink of water before he collapsed. But Sprong said nothing could be confirmed until toxicology tests are completed.
Sprong said it was too early to tell if Marin's death was a suicide.
"We don't know if he left a note, maybe told somebody he was planning on doing this, we just don't know yet," Sprong said. "It's too early in the investigation,we're hoping that as this goes on we'll learn more."
Marin was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
"They can take certain types of poison, but I'm not aware of anything that can do something that quickly, because it did happen very quickly. We're just going to have to see what it really was," Sprong said.
Prosecutors said Marin was in a financial mess, owing more than $2 million on his home.
But before Marin's downfall, it seemed like he had it all.
He was a Yale Law School graduate, worked for Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch and was an avid mountain climber.
Investigators said Marin burned down his $3.5 million home in 2009 because he couldn't sell it.
He was seen escaping the fire by climbing down a rope ladder while wearing scuba gear.
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Friday, December 6 2013 12:29 AM EST2013-12-06 05:29:24 GMT
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