We were in New York City when word came via numerous texts from the Maricopa County Superior Court (Judge Bruce Cohen's courtroom) that Michael Marin had been convicted of burning down his Biltmore Estates mansion back in 2009 (actually on this very date, July 5).
Then, moments later, we received this stunning missive from a courtroom observer:
"The jury convicted him--and then he dropped dead!"
After the obligatory response in which we asked if the texter was "kidding," we flipped into work mode for a bit, sending along what we knew to colleague Matt Hendley, who whipped out a nice blog item about the crazy goings-on.
The haunting videotaped image of Mr. Marin seeming to ingest something immediately after Judge Cohen's clerk read the guilty verdict, followed some minutes later by the defendant's convulsions and eventual collapse went viral.
Tonight at about 5:40 our time, Anderson Cooper of CNN is scheduled to run a five-minute piece on Marin's fall from grace, i.e. the arson and his creepy demise.
We were interviewed for the story, though God knows what, if any, soundbite they will use.
We told the CNN reporter about a call we got from a local TV dude shortly after Marin's death was confirmed.
"How do you feel about this?" the reporter asked, probably because we wrote the story linked above, "Burning Man," which pretty much nailed the financially strapped guy for having made the terribly unfortunate choice to torch his own pad.
No, we didn't hang up on the guy for the inane question. Instead, we said something like this:
"If you read the original story, you will know that Mr. Marin was an extremely accomplished guy who really did scale Mount Everest, really was a Yale Law School grad, really did work for bigtime financial houses on Wall Street and in Tokyo, really was a father of four (five if you count the most recent child out of wedlock) and a grandfather of at least three little ones.
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"Thankfully, no one was injured in the Biltmore fire, and in fact the only person who truly got hurt in Mr. Marin's escapade was himself. But he wasn't a Jerry Sandusky or Jeffrey Dahmer; he was just a messed-up guy who got in way over his head and did something really stupid that bounced back on him hard."
So, the short answer to the how-do-we-feel question about the apparent suicide is this:
Not so good.