Man Appears to Commit Suicide Moments After Arson Conviction
INSIDE EDITION is learning more about a courtroom moment that shocked the nation. A millionaire appeared to commit suicide by taking a poisoned pill moments after the jury found him guilty of arson.
"[It was] the craziest thing I've ever seen—shocking beyond belief," said Phoenix Prosecutor Chris Rapp, who was just a few feet away in the courtroom when it happened. "I thought he was just crying, doing something dramatic," said Rapp.
In a video of the scene, 53-year-old Michael Marin can be seen reaching into a bag and pulling out a Gatorade bottle. Thirty seconds later, he covered his face with his hands and appeared to chew and swallow something. Within minutes, he began to choke and collapsed to the floor.
Rapp told INSIDE EDITION, "It wasn't until he ended up actually on the floor rolling around and his defense attorney was basically yelling for help from the judge, that I knew something was really wrong."
After desparate attempts to revive him in the courtoom, he was taken to the hospital and declared dead.
Marin, a former Wall Street banker and Yale-educated lawyer, was a larger-than-life figure who collected original Picasso artwork, and even climbed Mount Everest in 2009. He lived in a ritzy Phoenix neighborhood of luxurious mansions, right next to a golf course.
But ruins are all that's left of his lavish $2.5 million mansion today. He was convicted of burning it down to collect the insurance because he was millions of dollars in debt, a victim of the Great Recession.
Marin originally claimed he escaped from his burning mansion by putting on a scuba tank and climbing down a portable ladder. He even told the story to KTVK-TV from his hospital bed.
Marin told the reporter, "I realized that I actually had some air left in the tank. That's what enabled me to get back to the window."
So what did Marin swallow that ended his string of lies? While toxicology results won't be completed for weeks, famed pathologist, Michael Baden told Fox News he believed the poison pill was cyanide.
Baden told Fox, "He turns a little bit reddish, that's what cyanide does, he can't breathe and goes into convulsions and dies so quickly."
Rapp told INSIDE EDITION he wasn't surprised that the millionaire who lived so large would make such a dramatic exit, saying, "Is it surprising that he committed suicide? Yes. Is it surprising that he did something dramatic to call attention to himself? Not really."