PHOENIX - Authorities say they found cyanide in the car of a man who collapsed and died after being convicted of arson in a Phoenix court on June 28.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a Tuesday news conference that Michael Marin contacted a chemical company before his trial to buy cyanide and had it delivered to his home in 2011.
He said deputies found he paid $68 for the cyanide with a credit card and had it delivered by Fed Ex.
On the day the verdict was read, television video appeared to show Marin putting something in his mouth and moments later he began convulsing and collapsed onto the floor.
Paramedics were not able to revive him.
Arpaio said he believes Marin made capsules out of the cyanide powder.
Authorities told ABC15 cyanide is a controlled substance meaning it's legal to buy and sell and has legitimate uses in many industries.
Doctor Daniel Brooks, a poison control expert, said cyanide "rapidly distributes through the body and kills the cells in minutes because it is such a potent toxin." Brooks said people who ingest cyanide usually die from heart failure.
"I don't know what his motive was to go public and allow the whole world to see. He committed suicide in front of the cameras in the courtroom for the whole world to see," Arpaio said.
Arpaio also said Marin's son received a delayed e-mail from his father telling him that if things didn't go well in court his will was intact and where to find his car.
Marin was accused of setting fire to his Phoenix Biltmore Estates mansion in 2009. He told fire crews he had escaped the fire by putting on a scuba diving mask and climbing out a window down a rope ladder.
The exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner's office. A spokesperson there said the they are still waiting for toxicology results.
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