Recently I was challenged on why I am “championing” Michael Marin, the former banker who was found guilty of arson and then killed himself in court. In short, I’m not championing “Michael Marin,” I just think people should know his side of the story. The prosecution fed so much misinformation to the media that the public is convinced that Michael Marin was a criminal and a con man, and I have a hard time with that.
Did this mean I believe he was innocent? Who knows? I think it’s possible, but I’m just an armchair quarterback who only saw the prosecution’s side of the story in the media. The media has been so brutal in their characterization of Michael Marin that 95% of all comments on the blogs are heartless and inhumane. Innocent or guilty, it’s hurtful to see.
I started commenting on Arizona’s news blogs to correct some misinformation, something I have never done before. I wanted to add a touch of kindness into the mix. Michael haters have engaged me, rebuffed me, questioned me and insulted me for doing this. Someone wrote this:
Christine, bring the sauce if you intend on making a retort. You are making me stupider by just reading your comments.
You are an apologist. Please assure us you’re not breeding, please.
And more. But that’s nothing compared to savage comments they make about Michael.
This is inhumane.
Furthermore, a commenter going by the name of “Zippy Pinhead” wanted to make certain that the public knew as much hateful information on Michael as possible – adding things completely unrelated to whether he committed arson. Zippy broadcast that Michael had another child out of wedlock and that Michael had to be sued for child support. Then Zippy went on to out the real name of the mother, the name of the little girl, the year of the lawsuit, and labeled the child “illegitimate.”
I thought, wow, what if the mother didn’t want her name, or more importantly, her underage daughter’s name known by the public? What if the mother didn’t want the child to know she was “illegitimate”? Why even use such a mean, out-dated term? You know all those single celebrity moms America loves? Who labels those children “illegitimate” these days?
Why single out the child of Michael Marin? I wonder if Zippy Pinhead purposely tried to give enough clues to enable the media to find them, follow them, photograph them. Is creating new casualties out of innocent people in Michael Marin’s life justifiable as long as it emasculates and vilifies Michael Marin in the process? Will we stop at nothing?
Have we become a society of monsters and haters?
When I commented on a blog saying a couple pieces of info I learned from Michael’s first defense attorney, my comment was immediately slammed by a guy named Christopher Rapp. When I commented back, Christopher Rapp blasted back again with his spin. It was clear he wanted to make sure the public believed nothing in Michael’s behalf.
I didn’t realize until later that Chris Rapp was Michael’s prosecutor. One commenter wrote:
“Am I the only one who thinks this loser prosecutor should get back to work and stop posting on New Times? Your 15 mins is over, Clown. Now get back to all those really tough felony prosecutions.”
It seems as if Rapp read my article questioning Michael’s guilt too. I’m pretty sure it was Rapp who posted another response to me under the fake name “Just the Facts.”
Should I be flattered to have a prosecutor cyber-lurking over my comments and articles. What is he so worried about?
He and the investigator always to refer to Michael Marin as a convicted criminal and a con-man, when, just for the record, technically he has not been officially and legally convicted. A guilty verdict is not an official conviction. The official “conviction” is after sentencing. Rapp knows this.
But hey, a criminal died, he did it to himself, what’s the big deal? At least they get to talk about the criminal while milking the national spotlight. Maybe this will be good for their careers!
Now there’s even a commenter going by the name “Wefman” working Jeff Peabody’s PR, trying to plant the idea that Jeff is a hero for being the 4th person to attend to Michael when he was on the floor dying. After all, he was the opposing investigator who got the guy nailed.
“If that isn’t a movie of the week than I don’t know what is.” Wefman wrote.
PUH LEEZE. That wouldn’t be a story unless Peabody either saved him, or cried. After all, I’m told that Michael wouldn’t have been on the court room floor at all had Peabody investigated without a bias or used more up-to-date fire science. But again, who knows?
After commenting and blogging my curiosity about Michael’s defense, I learned some amazing information, apparently supported by credible documentation, from people who knew his defense, from people in the courtroom, from people involved in the case or involved with Michael, and it turns out that my curiosity about his defense was justified.
Maybe his true defense has been missing from media coverage because there has been an enormous injustice. If so, that would be a whale of a news story, but we’ll see. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Time will tell.
The Danger of Achieving the American Dream
Here’s what it seems like to me. A man worked hard to achieve the American dream, and when he lost it, there was no public compassion. Zero. “Serves him right for cheating his way to the top.” “It’s Karma.” “He’s a con man, he deserves to go to prison.” No one wanted him to be innocent. America seemed hungry for his blood, especially the media.
Well, his blood they got.
Right there on the courtroom floor.
You would think that’s enough, but NO. Key people involved in his takedown keep flaming their own self-promotion. Paul Rubin of the Phoenix New Times who wrote the original “Burning Man” article about Michael Marin (that started the public backlash) excitedly informed his readers when Michael’s death catapulted him onto CNN’s Anderson Cooper. On his Phoenix New Times blog (July 5) he explained it step-by-step. They were in New York City, you see, when they received a flurry of texts that Michael Marin had been found guilty. He writes,
Then, moments later, we received this stunning missive from a courtroom observer:
“The jury convicted him–and then he dropped dead!”
Whoa Nellie! It was getting more exciting by the minute. He continued.
“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.”
Can you just feel the high energy, the electricity in the air? It was magic! They flipped into work mode, it was crazy – and Matt, bless his heart, Matt still somehow managed to whip out a nice blog item too.
A nice blog item. Seriously?
The nice blog item included the gory details about Michael’s death and his death video. This was great stuff, terrific stuff, very nice guys! A nice blog item indeed. Standing ovation for the Phoenix New Times. If it weren’t for the shaming of Michael Marin in Burning Man article, and the mocking picture of Michael in a wet suit with a snorkel inside flames, the rest of the media might not have cared enough about this case to humiliate this proud father to epic proportions. This is what journalism is all about, no? And to have it end in death?! Wow. Is this a dream come true for a journalist’s career? And now, Anderson Cooper!
“We were interviewed for the story, though God knows what, if any, soundbite they will use,” Paul wrote.
Which clip would they use? Oh fret fret fret fret. Nonetheless, he let us readers know when it would air.
“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.”
On CNN, Paul looked smug to me. From the transcripts:
PAUL RUBIN, JOURNALIST: (Referring to Michael) “He’s the smartest guy in the room. He’s the — he’s the smoothest talker in the room. He gets all the girls. He’s — you know, he’s that guy and he just ran into the brick wall that happens to these characters eventually.”
Yup, sure enough. Michael was “that guy” who achieved everything the other guys didn’t, and he even got all the girls. “He just ran into the brick wall that happens to these characters eventually.” Just another death in the gladiator ring. It happens to all of these characters. They’re at the top, then they hit the brick wall, and then bam. They’re dead.
I couldn’t help thinking of the gladiators days where spectators enjoyed watching strong men get taken down and killed for entertainment.
It saddens me that Paul Rubin, such a great journalist, couldn’t have expressed even a smidgeon of empathy, or the desire to look into how Michael’s past experiences or personality could shed insight on why he might prefer death to prison? Was there no motivation for Anderson Cooper to explore his defense or the overzealous prosecution or why this non-violent man was facing the same prison sentence as a murderer? I guess not. America enjoyed spewing on this man. Whatever Paul said on camera was probably good for entertainment ratings.
“Gladiator games provided their sponsors with extravagantly expensive but effective opportunities for self-promotion while offering cheap, exciting entertainment to their clients.” Wikipedia
The Gasoline Propaganda
If you’ve read Michael Marin stories, you’ve read about evidence of gasoline around the house. News outlets have repeatedly reported that “a Phoenix crime lab analysis revealed gasoline in two areas of the mansion.”
I’m told this was a spin on the truth.
There was evidence of an accelerant though, but that didn’t mean it was gasoline. Could the accelerant have had something to do with his art?
See the American Flag sculpture? It’s one of Michael’s many artworks. It’s a 3D decoupage medium, made out of paper layered on top of resin and bonded together with extremely flammable but very strong adhesive. He used paint in these sculpture paintings too. To clean up or remove adhesive or paint from his fingers, the floor or shoes would require a strong solvent. Solvents are “extremely flammable.” Michael had lots of this stuff around. In bulk I suspect. Even turpentine is flammable.
“Turpentine is a flammable liquid distilled from pine resin, used as a solvent. ” (Wiki)
Below is a mobile pic I snapped of a little can of Goof Off, one of the many solvents I got from Home Depot use to clean up my own art messes. I never paid attention to the warning labels before.
The lesson to be learned here is this: If you were hit in the economic crisis and have suffered financially, make extra EXTRA sure you don’t have anything “extremely flammable” in the house, especially when you are moving and have lots of boxes and packing paper around – lest your house catch on fire and arson investigators accuse you of using an accelerant and “kindling.”
And if your house DOES catch on fire, make sure you don’t do anything resourceful to come out alive, like escape with a fire ladder, lest it raise suspicion that this was all part of a plan.
There is stellar scientific evidence against arson investigator Jeff Peabody’s claim that there were four points of origin in the fire. Did you ever hear about that? If not, why not? That question is the tip of the iceberg, my friends.
The more you learn about how Michael’s case was handled, the more you too might wonder if there was a miscarriage of justice. He might have been guilty. But everyone has the right to wonder, and should.
I wasn’t even a current “friend” of Michael exactly, but what the bloodthirsty media and public have done to him I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
To make that point one last time, please review the sentence he faced below.
Arizona: Brian Dick RAPE
Sentenced to 5 years
Brian Dick was a U.S. Border Patrol Agent who raped a female agent.
Arizona: Alexander Mantzaridis MURDER, ROBBERY
Sentenced to 6 years
Drug rip-off death.
Arizona: Mikel McCaully RAPE, KIDNAPPING, ASSAULT
Sentenced to 7.5 years
Kidnapped, beat and raped one woman; the next day he used a metal pipe to attack the mother of his son. He had a prior criminal record.
Arizona: Daniel Aguilar DRUGS, MURDER
Sentenced to 16-22 years
Murder during a drug heist gone wrong.
Arizona: Michael Marin ARSON, NO VICTIMS
Sentence faced: 16-21 years
He maintained his innocence until the end and ended his life before he was sentenced.
More of Michael’s Artwork.