Sunday, November 25, 2012

Statement Analysis: Arson Case


Below is the statement from a Wall Street Trader who was found guilty of arson in burning down his own home.  

Was he guilty of setting the fire?  Did the jury get it right?

Statement Analysis gets to the truth.   The quote is in italics, with analysis in bold type following the article.  Do not go by the jury, nor by his suicide, but only by his statement. The subject is dead; the statement is alive.


A formerly successful Wall Street trader apparently committed suicide in court by swallowing a pill after he was found guilty of committing arson. Michael James Marin, who owned a $3.5 million Biltmore Estates mansion in Phoenix that burned to the ground, heard the guilty verdict read, then appeared to swallow something that triggered convulsions. He died on his way to the hospital. Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death.

Marin graduated from Yale Law School, and once successfully climbed Mount Everest, but reports have surfaced that he couldn’t pay the $17,500 monthly mortgage on his lavish home.
Marin, who was found outside his home in SCUBA gear while his house burned down, had been convicted of “arson of an occupied structure.
But before he was arrested, Marin boasted of his innocence:
"Here's the unvarnished version from the horse's mouth. One, you don't set fire to something that you're in and then go trap yourself upstairs to make a more dramatic exit. The second thing, if you bore into my finances, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Not only did I not have any incentive personally, I totally had a counter-incentive. The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out."
But arson investigators were apparently smarter than Marin.  And it surfaced that Marin had a collection of 18 original etchings by Pablo Picasso but still had tried to raffle his Biltmore home months after he'd bought it.
Ironically, Marin had said, "I'm very calm under pressure, and I've certainly been tested in that way.”

Here is the statement with emphasis of underlining and color added. 

"Here's the unvarnished version from the horse's mouth. One, you don't set fire to something that you're in and then go trap yourself upstairs to make a more dramatic exit. The second thing, if you bore into my finances, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Not only did I not have any incentive personally, I totally had a counter-incentive. The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out."

Note the statement beings with the article, "the."  Articles, like pronouns, are exempt from the rule of personal, internal, subjective pronouns.  This is "the" unvarnished version which tells us that other versions have been "varnished" though he does not tell us who did the varnishing.  

Next, we see that he presents in logic, with "One"

Then we learn that he uses the 2nd person with "you don't set fire..." which is not that he did not set fire.  This is distancing language.  

Please note the highly sensitive "to" in the statement.  Whenever "so, since, therefore, thus, to, because...and so on" enter a statement, the subject is telling us "why" something happened.  Here, he tells us the reason of being upstairs trapped:  to make it appear more dramatic.  This indicates his planning and hope to deceive. 

Next he uses "second" as logic, versus emotional:  if you "bore" into "my finances, indicates that a simple review will not suffice, but a "boring into" will be necessary as it indicates there is a concealing of finances that is complex. 

Note that "not" is in the negative, and the motive denied is "personally" indicating that others, outside of himself, were part of motive; likely he had kids. 

The "people" not firefighters, will figure out what they figure out may indicate that he knows the inevitable will be learned:  that the fire was deliberately set. 

In this statement, he uses distancing language and attempts to portray the lack of motive, yet tells us that finances are so complicated that deep digging is going to be necessary. 

Lastly, he does not tell us that he did not set the fire, therefore we cannot say it for him. 

The distancing language, the attempt to portray a lack of motive, and the lack of denial within his statement cause the conclusion:

He was guilty of setting the fire. 

The jury had it right. 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Here's the unvarnished version
-- there are other versions ?

from the horse's mouth.
-- euphemism for guilty admission

One, you don't set fire to something that you're in and then go trap yourself upstairs to make a more dramatic exit.
-- no I don't, but did he ?

The second thing, if you bore into my finances, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me.
-- could it benefit him in another way? Could it benefit another person?

Not only did I not have any incentive personally, I totally had a counter-incentive.
-- reported in the negative = sensitive. "Personally" = extra words = sensitive. Was there an impersonal incentive? Another incentive? " totally" =extra words = sensitive.

The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out."
-- not a denial by any measure. Leaves possibility for them to figure out he did it.


That's my attempt.
My phone won't let me enter my name in the pop up window.
Anna

Anonymous said...

He's telling us he's not expecting the investigation to find him innocent. An innocent guy would not say this

The Phoenix Fire Department people will figure out what they figure out

Ivanna-anna

john said...

This may sound like a silly question but here goes .

Was he using the scuba gear to help him breath while he was setting fire to the house?

Hobnob said...

john said...
This may sound like a silly question but here goes .

Was he using the scuba gear to help him breath while he was setting fire to the house?


Hi John.
Apparantly he claimed he happened to have it handy and used it to breathe when trapped by the fire.

I am sure many have scuba gear lying about conveniently in their house just in case of such an emergency.

The suit may have been stored in a room, the tanks would more likely be stored in the garage or junk room.

john said...

Hi Hobs,

I always have one handy when i go the bathroom. lol

Hobnob said...

john said...
Hi Hobs,

I always have one handy when i go the bathroom. lol


Shouldn't that read " My better half has one handy when she goes to the bathroom ;)

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Hobs said.

Shouldn't that read " My better half has one handy when she goes to the bathroom ;)

Siobhan laughed her head off :-)

Mainah said...

Good catch "boring into", you won't find it on the surface...I am really enjoying SA, in everything I do now...I'm rereading the federalist papers for fun!

"unvarnished" jumped out at me too. I think he was saying: this is my unpolished version; I may have to "gloss" it a little better, but this is what "the horse(???)" is saying for...

Amazing, and another good example of the lack of a (reliable) denial.

Thank you, Peter.

Sandy said...

What happened to the Picasso etchings? Drat it all... You don't (one doesn't) go to jail for walking away from being underwater with a house (the need for SCUBA gear?) but burning it to collect insurance money will earn you jail time...

Anonymous said...

Lol was he pretending to be a firefighter, wearing his scuba gear? Firefighters wear SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus).
That just struck me as really funny and a good example of a little knowledge being dangerous. The Phoenix FD is top notch and only takes the best. You can bet those fire investigators are also the best at what they do.

Anonymous said...

Where's the outrage a wrongly accused person would normally exhibit? He did not say he didn't so it, therefore we cannot say it for him.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to admit it; this is a tough one for me. To me, his statement is perfectly logical and makes sense that one would not set a fire in their house and go upstairs to die in it, on a mere 'hope' that someone will call the FD and they will be saved.

However, John's question about the scuba diving suit he was wearing is a good one; but is also very dangerous if he was in the house wearing that equipment with the house on fire! Isn't that suit made of rubber, with a small oxygen tank for air? Wouldn't the rubber have melted onto his body, causing him excruciating pain; and wouldn't the oxygen tank have exploded in his face? Based on the common sense of the matter, and fear of a VERY painful death, I don't see him wearing the scuba diving equipment inside the house deliberately and it on fire. No way.

As to boring into his finances, this WAS during a time of desperation for Wall Street Execs, finding their assets to be all but worthless and losing millions of dollars, with no recovery. Even his Picasso etchings were worthless. I wonder if he knew they weren't worth diddly? I know, I have two of them.

It took me years to find out they are worthless other than for ones personal enjoyment. Once I had mine insured for a limitless value with Lloyd's of London (who later went broke); no one knew their value at the time, but finally I sent them to Southeby's to have them appraised and that's when I learned their history.

These etchings were used by Picasso in student art classes and there are hundreds of them, maybe thousands; they are photo copies taken from the originals that Picasso etched over with charcoal for demonstration in classes; with many likely being charcoal etched by students and other artist instructors as well. One might think they would have some value but they don't. I kept mine because I like them which is why I bought them in the first place.

Poor guy. His real estate also was unsellable at the time, MANY went into foreclosure and auction; with high end consignment shops and jewelers filled to capacity with pricey art work, furnishings, antiques, expensive glassware, china, etc., and diamonds and fabulous jewelry jewelers couldn't sell, and auction houses letting fabulous stuff go cheap. Even Madoff's stuff and his former wealthy (now broke) clients stuff went cheap, some likely still unsold.

He should have declared bankruptcy instead of burning his house down if that's what he did. People get desperate. But to kill himself? To me, that doesn't prove his guilt. Many have commited suicide who weren't guilty. Either way, he knew no lawyer would appeal his case since he had no money left to pay them. REB

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:37 AM; we don't know that he DIDN'T exhibit outrage at being falsely accused. We don't know what he may have said in other statements, affidavits, denials and court filings by the defense.

We only have this one brief statement to go by; which to ME is too limited to make a decision as to his guilt. You all make some excellent points, but in this case I'd have to know more detail?

I can't just accept it that LE and Fire Officials are always right just because they said so, or that one little statement made by the defendant is all there is to it; guilty as charged.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48 I was referring to the statement only. I am only analyzing the statement above. Outrage of being wrongly accused is missing from the above sample. That is ALL I was referring to.