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Updated Jul 10, 2012 - 5:27 pm

MCSO: Man who died in court took cyanide

A can of mining-grade cyanide was found in Michael Marin's vehicle after he committed suicide in a Phoenix courtroom. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

A man convicted of arson of his $3.5 million Valley mansion took cyanide in a court room shortly after being convicted in a Phoenix court, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

A can of cyanide, meant for mining purposes, was found in Michael Marin's vehicle after his courtroom suicide.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Marin purchased the cyanide in 2009 from a California company for Marin's preplanned suicide.

"On the evening of [Marin's] death, his adult son received a delayed email from Michael Marin, telling him that if things don't go good in court, Marin's wills are in place and his car could be found parked in a Mesa location," said Arpaio.

Despite the death of Marin, Arpaio said the court duties of his deputies will not change.

"We're not in charge of the courtroom," he said. "We're not in charge of the searching when they come into the courtroom through metal detectors. We're in charge once that suspect is turned over to our custody in our jails."

The investigation has been turned over to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.

A Maricopa County Superior Court jury found Marin, 53, guilty of arson of an occupied structure. He collapsed in court immediately after the verdict was read.

Marin was transported to a hospital and died shortly after.

Judge Bruce Cohen, who ruled in the case, ordered that no video footage be shown of Marin's medical treatment.

Prosecutors said Marin would have faced up to nearly 16 years in prison if he was convicted.

Marin's mansion burned down in July 2009. He told authorities he escaped the blaze by climbing down a rope ladder while wearing a scuba tank and diving mask to protect himself from the smoke.

Phoenix Fire Department investigators called it arson. Prosecutors claimed Marin, a former Wall Street trader, set fire to his house because he could no longer pay the mortgage.

Watch a video of Marin ingesting the cyanide from 3TV:

KTAR's Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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