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Marine accused of murder described as abusive, suicidal

March 15, 2012 |  5:52 pm

A 19-year-old Marine accused of murdering his roommate in their barracks at Camp Pendleton was described Thursday as a heavy drinker whose abusive behavior and threats of suicide had led other Marines to report him to their chain of command.

Lance Cpl. Darren Evans of Douglas, Nev., is charged with premeditated murder in the Nov. 6 death of Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr. of Canoga Park. Both were assigned to a helicopter squadron at Camp Pendleton.

Other Marines wrote reports to their superiors about Evans, but were merely told by their sergeants to "keep an eye" on him, according to an article in the North County Times about the first day of an Article 32 hearing in the case.

When Arias confronted Evans late one night about his drinking, Evans took a crowbar and struck him nine times with the hook end, prosecutors said. After killing Arias, Evans jumped from the third story of their barracks in an apparent suicide attempt, prosecutors said.

Several witnesses testified that the barracks was known as a place for heavy drinking. "You could easily say it's been a party barracks," said Navy corpsman Austin Smith, according to the North County Times article.

The Article 32 hearing is set to resume Friday at Camp Pendleton. At an Article 32, a hearing officer gathers evidence and then makes a recommendation to the convening authority about whether the case should go to court martial.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego