Michael Marin's Bizarre Courtroom Death To Be Explored By CNN's Anderson Cooper Tonight

Categories: News

See also: Burning Man: An Attorney Says He Escaped His Blazing Home Using Scuba Gear; Now He's Charged with Arson

michael marin June 15, 2012.jpg
Mike Marin, dead at 53 moments after his arson conviction.
We were in New York City when word came via numerous texts from the Maricopa County Superior Court (Judge Bruce Cohen's courtroom) that Michael Marin had been convicted of burning down his Biltmore Estates mansion back in 2009 (actually on this very date, July 5).

Then, moments later, we received this stunning missive from a courtroom observer:

"The jury convicted him--and then he dropped dead!"

Whoa, Nellie!

After the obligatory response in which we asked if the texter was "kidding," we flipped into work mode for a bit, sending along what we knew to colleague Matt Hendley, who whipped out a nice blog item about the crazy goings-on.

The haunting videotaped image of Mr. Marin seeming to ingest something immediately after Judge Cohen's clerk read the guilty verdict, followed some minutes later by the defendant's convulsions and eventual collapse went viral.

Tonight at about 5:40 our time, Anderson Cooper of CNN is scheduled to run a five-minute piece on Marin's fall from grace, i.e. the arson and his creepy demise.

We were interviewed for the story, though God knows what, if any, soundbite they will use.

We told the CNN reporter about a call we got from a local TV dude shortly after Marin's death was confirmed.

"How do you feel about this?" the reporter asked, probably because we wrote the story linked above, "Burning Man," which pretty much nailed the financially strapped guy for having made the terribly unfortunate choice to torch his own pad.

No, we didn't hang up on the guy for the inane question. Instead, we said something like this:

"If you read the original story, you will know that Mr. Marin was an extremely accomplished guy who really did scale Mount Everest, really was a Yale Law School grad, really did work for bigtime financial houses on Wall Street and in Tokyo, really was a father of four (five if you count the most recent child out of wedlock) and a grandfather of at least three little ones.

"Thankfully, no one was injured in the Biltmore fire, and in fact the only person who truly got hurt in Mr. Marin's escapade was himself. But he wasn't a Jerry Sandusky or Jeffrey Dahmer; he was just a messed-up guy who got in way over his head and did something really stupid that bounced back on him hard."

So, the short answer to the how-do-we-feel question about the apparent suicide is this:

Not so good.


My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
Bbr44
Bbr44

I don't always like to burn down a mansion, but when I do, I like wear my scuba gear

wishyoupeace
wishyoupeace

Mr. Michael Marin was a just-convicted defendant, not Mr. Peabody's personal enemy. I don't find it ironic at all; not to mention that, for all we can see in the video, it was three women alone who immediately and instinctively tried to help Marin when he began to have trouble, with Mr. Rapp rotating his chair back and forth, barely wanting to look. Kudos to the three women!

Dearirma
Dearirma

He committed suicide!! You think someone will end his own life cause his is not guilty! Who cares if no child or anyone was not injured by him burning down his house? Who cares if he wanted to gain or not gain financially from the fire, he is not the first nor the last to defraud insurance instead of just declare bankruptcy, he committed the crime and he was not man enough to suffer the consequences and took the easy way out. He not the media, he not any comments from anyone on any blog, true or false brought this on himself, he decided to kill himself casue he is/was guilty

Wefman
Wefman

I think it is ironic that the investigator who arrested him for the arson, tried to save his life in the court room.  If that isn't a movie of the week than I don't know what is. I have watched some of the testimony in court during the trial and witnessed Captain Peabody get villified by the defense team, but didn't hesitate a moment to come and help Marin. Kudos to Capt. Peabody!

Zippy Pinhead
Zippy Pinhead

Did his defense attorneys not the bring the statement you allege to the attention of the jury? Did you not suspect Christine on you romp down Rodeo Drive that Mr. Marin was a self-absorbed narcissist who wanted everyone to know about his successes and not his failures? Explain to everyone here why in 2005 Kathrine Lee had to sue Mr. Marin for support of his Illegitimate daughter, Kahelelani Lee. Again, as you are a champion of Mr. Marin please explain why a Yale educated attorney with a background in finance makes a buffoon move by purchasing an over-priced property in Phoenix during a market downturn, And while you contend that he was a benevolent of charities, why did he attempt to make almost a million dollars selling his home to a charity?? While you're at it explain the bogus second mortgage he recorded on the Biltmore property. I would guess that the earning potential of someone with a law degree from Yale with Mr. Marin's experience has got to be in the 3 to 500 k per year range. Of course once you're found guilty of an intentional tort, you're pretty much screwed. Go on Christine, explain why the bold and courageous Mr, Marin pulled the plug on his life in front of friends and family leaving nothing but a mountain of debt and disappointment. He could have just got a job. If I had stamped his ticket to Yale, I'd be supremely disappointed, My heart goes out to this man's family

Rickie
Rickie

Zippy Pinhead, I agree with your sentiments and accept the fact that you have the right to express them, but you have NO right to include the names of his fifth child and her mother. That is totally uncalled for! She is a minor and an orphan. Remove their names but leave your comments. You obviously have knowledge of the law and access to legal records, so you definitely know better than to be throwing the child's name out and making yourself responsible for any damage this may cause her. If your heart truly does go out to this man's family, then have the decency to stop throwing his underage daughter's name around just to prove your point!

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

Yes Michael was self-absorbed. And yes he did good things and bad things.  On another note, maybe you should edit out the woman's real name and the name of her underage child - especially since you labeled the child "illegitimate."  Maybe it's insensitive of their privacy to out them like that. Just a thought...

Gpsmeal
Gpsmeal

 Was he legally convicted under Arizona law?  Is a jury verdict without the imposition of a judgment of conviction and sentence a legal conviction?

Jessica Glass
Jessica Glass

Christine,  Thank you again for taking your time to give another perspective.  I continue to be pained by this situation.   I don't understand the comments posted here toward you that are hostile and without any compassion nor the need some seem to feel to "confront" you.  The fact is that this man did not commit a predatory crime, did not slip into some little girl's bed at night, or harm an old lady.  Given his history of once being imprisoned, being a free thinker, and facing a long duration in a violent prison makes my heart break ... over and over again.   The other fact is that men that can't relate to Mr. Marin's level of success will feel anger toward him but will not have the cognitive awareness to understand this and thus their anger manifests in thoughtless and hurtful comments to you.  I apologize to you on behalf of them and wish you strength and hope as you manage this loss of someone you knew and who was a dynamic man that clearly died with pain in his heart.    My inability to relate to his accomplishments does not lessen my sense of humanity.  May those thoughtless individuals on this site receive the same level of kindness that they've bestowed here when they meet their maker.   Please don't feel the need to defend against them.  They will continue to believe what they wish and have anger in their hearts.  Your article of Michael Marin was great and you've done right by him.  Please grieve with comfort knowing that some of us get it.   

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

Having $50 in his bank account does not mean that's all he the money he would EVER have, or that he wouldn't have $10,000 the next week, or $60,000 the next month. Donald Trump went down to nothing when he went bankrupt. Yet people believed in him enough to work with him, and he got back on his feet.  Apparently, Michael was in a similar position. His lenders believed in him. If they were "dirty lenders" who stood to benefit from the insurance money, maybe they should have been investigated. Were they? If they weren't charged with anything, maybe they weren't so dirty after all.   The lenders were willing to work with Michael. They weren't even going to evict him.  Why, then, was he so desperate to burn the house down?  Why would he commit insurance fraud to get a payout sometime in the distant future out of desperation - spurred by his impending balloon payment, when his lenders were already prepared to refinance and eliminate the balloon payment?  Mr. "Just the Facts" - It's easy to hide behind a pseudonym and slam an imperfect man who is now dead and unable to defend himself.  What's not easy is to publicly state that there was goodness in an eccentric, accomplished, flawed millionaire who has been mercilessly mocked by the media, painted as a liar, and is now hated by myriads of nameless faces who have no idea who he really was, what his defense was, that he was a hero to many people, or that he shopped at Goodwill, or that he read to the blind. Maybe there's more to the story. Maybe the verdict would have been reversed on appeal. Who knows? But many would like to know what his defense was.Christopher Rapp/Just the Facts (I assume you are the same person.)  Since you apparently have access legal docs in Arizona and I'm out of state, if you would be so kind as to send me a link to a copy of the insurance policy and the transcripts of what the defense said, I will post it all on my blog (christinemarie.com) for others to see and analyze.  It's only fair.The prosecution and the media have joined hands to crucify Michael Marin and are dancing on his grave, as if society is better off.  This is so wrong.  I am not an investigator. I am not the media. I don't have a dog in this fight. I am just a blogger who does not believe the public story that has been told about Michael Marin.

KennyPowers
KennyPowers

Well written article. I agree, this guy made a dumb choice, but he didn't hurt a kid or kill anyone. In all honesty, he would have been a great guy to get a beer with, he had a fascinating life. It's a shame what happened, but I respect his decision. Like Sinatra, he did it his way.

wishyoupeace
wishyoupeace

--------------- Quote: ----------------- "The jury convicted him--and then he dropped dead!" Whoa, Nellie! ----------------------------------------- That surely sounds like someone feeling "not so good"?

Gpsmeal
Gpsmeal

Everyone is using the term "convicted" but was he legally convicted under Arizona law? I learned a long time ago that in the state where I reside a person is not legally convicted until a judgment of conviction and sentence is imposed.

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

Thank you for putting me in check.  It motivated me to call his first defense attorney to see what his defense was to that.  See my comment above.  

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

(Sorry for reposting this) I spoke to Richard Gierloff today, Michael's first defense attorney.  He confirmed that it came out in deposition with his lenders that Michael had no financial incentive to torch his house.  The lenders were awesome guys who were working with him to refinance and make things work financially for Michael.   This is not my naive, wishful thinking, trying-to-see-the-best-in-everyone (although I admit I do that), but this fact came out in deposition with his lenders:  financially, he had no incentive to burn his house.  

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

I spoke to Richard Gierloff today, Michael's first defense attorney.  He confirmed that it came out in deposition with his lenders that Michael had no financial incentive to torch his house.  The lenders were awesome guys who were working with him to refinance and make things work financially for Michael.  He wasn't a desperate man who torched the house for the insurance money.  That story is false.  

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I seriously don't have a clue how you can blame any media outlet for the actions of a person, such as this. Mr. Marin, rest his soul, apparently perpetrated a fraud that was intended to give him some financial relief. It didn't work and when confronted with a conviction and probable prison time, he apparently acted on carefully orchestrated suicide plan. Yes, it's sad that this man died at his own hand, and it's sad that his previously successful life had crumbled into ruins, but in life we all have choices about how and when we want to survive. No media outlet can control those choices.

Christine Marie ❤
Christine Marie ❤

Yes, I believed him.  Because the business we were working on with others in 2000 would have helped parents know how to be positive and nurturing with their children.  The goal was to prevent child abuse. Even if he did stand to benefit financially from the raffle, I do not believe for one second that the Child Crisis Center was just a PR move.  That's where his heart was.  That's just a fact.  At least give him that.

Micah F
Micah F

He most likely was an interesting man and gave a lot to the community as you say.  But, when you constantly spend over your head like this guy seemed to do it will catch up to you sooner or later.   If the artwork he bought was so valuable why couldn't he just sell some of them off to pay down the debt of the house?  In the end it was like he was all flash but no cash.  Climbing Mt. Everest isn't cheap and he did that when he knew he was broke, sounds like that was his last hurrah before he had to go and pay the piper.

TaxpayingVoter
TaxpayingVoter

Aren't you forgetting the part where Marin brought it all on himself? I have been haunted by the poor man's situation since I watched him die and I sympathized greatly for his desperation and hopelessness....I wanted to do something to take away his pain and couldn't because it was far, far too late. Still, he is ultimately responsible for what occurred after he found himself in extreme debt. No one told him to set his home on fire.  No one told him to make any of the bad decisions that led to his end. I hope he is at peace, finally.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...