An Arizona man who collapsed in court and died shortly after being convicted of deliberately burning down his mansion committed suicide by taking cyanide, a medical examiner reported on Friday.
Michael Marin, 53, was found with quick-acting toxin in his system that he ingested just after a jury found him guilty last month on a charge of arson of an occupied structure, said Kevin Horn, Maricopa County medical examiner.
Marin, a former Wall Street trader who had reportedly climbed Mount Everest, was pronounced dead at a central Phoenix hospital.
The autopsy backs the results of an investigation by the county sheriff's office that determined Marin likely committed suicide by taking a cyanide pill in the aftermath of the jury's verdict announced on June 28.
Video of the sentencing shot by a television pool photographer apparently showed Marin putting something in his mouth minutes before he collapsed. Officials at the time speculated that he might have taken some sort of poison.
Sheriff's investigators found a canister of sodium cyanide powder inside his car after being alerted to the vehicle by Marin's adult son.
The son had received a delayed email from Marin about the location and said his will was in order in case "things don't go well in court," investigators said.
Sodium cyanide, commonly used to extract gold during the mining process, is known to inhibit breathing. Investigators believe Marin fashioned the powder he purchased last year from a California supplier into capsules to be consumed in court.
Marin faced more than 16 years in prison for torching his 10,000-square-foot (930-sq-metre) home on July 5, 2009. Prosecutors believed that Marin was having financial problems and could not afford a large payment due on his home, according to court documents.
He was accused of setting the fire in four separate areas of the home.
Marin escaped the blaze by climbing down a rope ladder from the second floor of the home, clad in scuba gear to protect him from smoke inhalation, documents show.