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Marine faces trial in crowbar killing

April 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

OCEANSIDE, Calif., April 16 (UPI) -- A man accused of killing a fellow Marine with a crowbar in a barracks in California will be court-martialed on a charge of premeditated murder, officials said.

Lance Cpl. Darren J. Evans, 19, was accused of killing Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr.,19, in a Camp Pendleton barracks during a drunken rampage Nov. 6, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday.

At a preliminary hearing last month, prosecutors said Evans, while intoxicated, attacked Arias, who was in bed, then punched another Marine and jumped off a third-floor balcony. Evans was injured by the fall but has since recovered.

Maj. Gen. Andrew W. O'Donnell Jr. decided after the hearing Evans will face a court-martial on a murder charge as well as charges of assault, violating a lawful general order relating to underage drinking and intentional self-injury, which is against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

After the hearing, the commander of Marine Aircraft Group 39 ordered increased periodic checks for illegal or improper use of alcohol and drugs in the barracks.

Irresponsible drinking plays a role in a large percentage of suicides, sexual assault, domestic violence and fatal motor vehicle accidents in the armed forces, military officials have said.

"The safety and welfare of our Marines who reside in the barracks is paramount to this command," Col. Shaun Sadler said.

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