Arizona defendant killed self in court with cyanide, autopsy says

Michael Marin, an outdoor enthusiast and former Wall Street trader, killed himself by swallowing cyanide in an Arizona courtroom moments after he was convicted of arson, officials have ruled.

Marin, 53, was sitting at the defendant’s table in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix when the verdict was returned June 28. He was caught on video, slumping forward, head in hands, and he appeared to swallow something that had been hidden in his fingers. He also drank from a water bottle.

Marin soon went into convulsions and was pronounced dead in the courtroom.


The autopsy of Marin lists the cause of death as “suicide by cyanide,” a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County medical examiner’s office said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times on Friday. The ruling was based on toxicology tests.

The official ruling confirms what had long been suspected in the case. Police have said that they found a canister of cyanide and a note to his son in Marin’s car.

Marin said he had earned a fortune trading on Wall Street after getting a law degree from Yale University and building a reputation as a mountain climber.

But times turned hard, according to prosecutors at his trial. In a year, his bank account went from $900,000 to just $50. Marin was no longer able to pay the $17,250 monthly mortgage on his home so he torched the Phoenix-area building in 2009.

Wearing scuba gear, he fled the fire through a second-floor window down a rope ladder.

Marin faced seven to 21 years in prison on the arson conviction.


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