PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff's investigators on Monday found a canister of cyanide in the car of Michael Marin, likely confirming the theory that Marin committed suicide in court on June 28.
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Marin collapsed moments after a jury found him guilty of burning down his Biltmore Estates mansion in 2009. Television video from Marin's court hearing appeared to show him putting something in his mouth immediately after the verdict was read. Seven minutes later, he went into convulsions and fell to the floor. Paramedics were unable to revive him.
According to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one of Marin's family members received a delayed e-mail from Marin on the eve of his death, saying that if things went bad for him in court, Marin's car could be found parked in Mesa. Sheriff's investigators were informed by the family and obtained access to the car Monday night.
Arpaio said that a silver canister labeled "sodium cyanide" was found in the car, and evidence indicated that it had been purchased over the Internet from a California supplier in 2011.
Cyanide, which is used in mining and other industries, is a chemical that toxicologists refer to as a "knock-down" agent, and it kills rapidly by inhibiting the body's use of oxygen.