`Burning Man' Michael Marin Arson Trial To Start Next Week

Remember the quirky case of onetime Wall Street broker, Yale Law School-educated attorney, art collector and man about town Michael Marin, who was accused in 2009 of criminally torching his Biltmore Estates mansion?

Trial time for Michael Marin--finally.

The highly publicized case perhaps was most notable for how Marin said he had escaped the inferno from a second-story bedroom window--by donning a diving mask, breathing in air from a scuba tank, and shimmying to safety down a makeshift ladder.

Phoenix Fire investigators, however, didn't buy Marin's account--their finding of numerous "points of origin" of the blaze didn't help matters--and a grand jury indicted him on a single count of committing residential arson.

We wrote a long piece about Marin and the fire, appropriately titled "Burning Man," which is available for viewing right here.

We spoke at length with Marin, a great conversationist (aka a quote machine) who also plays a mean piano and is a decent artist.

"One, you don't set fire to something that you're in and then go trap yourself upstairs to make a more dramatic exit," he said of the July 5, 2009, blaze that he now is accused of having started for financial reasons.

"The second thing, if you bore into my finances, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Not only did I not have any incentive personally, I totally had a counter-incentive. The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out."

And, now, so will a Maricopa County jury of Marin's peers.

We'll try to sit in on opening statements on Monday morning and will sit in at trial whenever possible.

Marin, who has been released on bond, is facing a stiff prison term if convicted.



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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin