| News |

Status Of "Burning Man" Michael Marin's Criminal Case? The Flame's on Low

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

We've been getting an unusual number of calls and e-mails from folks wanting to know the status of the felony arson case against Michael Marin, the fascinating, if troubled, fellow we wrote about last summer in "Burning Man." Readers may recall the story: Marin's a mountain climber, visual artist, author, and onetime alleged financial wizard whose beautiful Biltmore Estates mansion caught on fire one night last year -- with Marin inside.


According to Marin, he had the presence of mind to don some scuba-diving equipment that he'd stored in a bedroom closet on the second floor, and then lowered himself to safety via a portable ladder. 

Unfortunately for the dude, Phoenix Fire investigators uncovered evidence at the scene that convinced them (and a county grand jury) that Marin had torched the place himself.

It happened just weeks after Marin's plan to raffle his home in conjunction with a local charity failed to pass muster with local gaming authorities, who said it would have been illegal.

It took Marin a few weeks to post the $200,000 bond ordered by the court after his arrest and incarceration. During that time, however, he hired veteran Phoenix criminal-defense attorney Richard Gierloff, a fine (though not cheap) advocate for his clients.

Marin has pleaded innocent.

Though a trial date is now officially set for next month, that won't happen, as court records show that many pretrial interviews have yet to be completed.

A December 22 motion by the defense to disqualify the Maricopa County Attorney's Office from prosecuting Marin also is pending (defense attorneys around the Valley are filing similar motions, as a legal strategy stemming from the mess that County Attorney Andy Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have fomented down at the courthouse.

As for Marin, he's been lying low since his release from custody after his stay in the county jail. We actually enjoyed our several hours of interviews with the guy. He's a sterling conversationalist, and the stories he told us -- true or not -- were absolutely compelling.

We wonder what a jury of his peers will think of him.




Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.