WITNESSES: Marine Was on Suicide Watch, Drinking Heavily When he Fatally Beat Barracks Mate With Crowbar

19-Year-Old Marine Facing Court-Martial on Premeditated Murder Charges

Lance Cpl. Darren J. Evans was seriously injured when he jumped from barracks third floor after allegedly killing his room mate

by Nathan Max
San DIego UT, March 15, 2012

CAMP PENDLETON — A 19-year-old lance corporal accused of bludgeoning his roommate to death with a crowbar at their Camp Pendleton barracks in November was heavily intoxicated and battling depression at the time, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Darren J. Evans of Douglas, Nev., is facing a possible court-martial in connection with the death of Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr., also 19. Prosecutors are seeking charges of premeditated murder, assault and violation of orders.

Lance Cpl. Darren J. Evans, Camp Pendleton Marine was suicidal and drinking heavily when he allegedly beat his barracks mate to death with a crowbar Nov 6, 2011. (NC Times)

If convicted, Evans could spend up to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole, said Prosecutor Maj. Andrea Goode. The Article 32 hearing, the military justice system’s equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing, will continue Friday in a Camp Pendleton courtroom.

On Thursday, witnesses described Evans as a quiet and reserved Marine whose alcohol consumption and depression began to spiral out of control following a Labor Day weekend visit to see a girlfriend on the East Coast. Evans, at one point, had been put on an unofficial suicide watch after the trip because he had threatened to kill himself, according to testimony.

What was not made clear, however, was the motive as to why Evans allegedly killed Arias, described by the Marines as an affable man with a good sense of humor. Several Marines testified that there didn’t seem to be any outward tension between the two.

Goode said in her opening statement that Evans hit Arias nine times with a crowbar in the early morning hours of Nov. 6. After the attack, Evans allegedly punched another Marine, who was checking on his well-being, before he jumped off a third-floor balcony.

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