Man Accused of Murdering Fellow Marine to Appear in Court

Lance Cpl. Mario Arias was found dead in Camp Pendleton's Area 24 barracks

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    A Marine accused of murdering a fellow Marine in the barracks at Camp Pendleton will appear in court Thursday.

    Lance Cpl. Mario Arias, 19, was found beaten to death at 1 a.m. on Nov. 3 in Camp Pendleton's Area 24 barracks, according to investigators.

    Marine's Death Considered Homicide

    [DGO] Marine's Death Considered Homicide
    Mario Arias, 19, was found dead in Camp Pendleton's Area 24 Barracks Sunday around 1 a.m. the apparent victim of a homicide. Now, another Marine, whose name has not been released is the suspect in Arias' murder. Nicole Gonzales reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011)

    The suspect, Lance Cpl. Darren J. Evans, 19, was found outside the barracks after having jumped from a third floor balcony, according to Lt. Maureen Dooley, a spokesperson with MCAS Miramar.

    Evans was an aircrew trainee part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, based in Camp Pendleton.

    Evans attended an Article 32 hearing at Camp Pendleton, which is the civilian equivalent of a grand jury. Evidence will be presented and an investigating officer will determine which type of court martial the suspect will be referred to.

    Nine witnesses took the stand at the hearing Thursday, including seven Marines, one Navy corpsman and a paramedic from the Camp Pendleton Fire Department.

    One witness had been through training with Evans, and another was a corpsman who was in their barracks, Dooley said.

    "Both defense and prosecutor are asking questions about the events of the day and night along with their relationship to Evans leading up to the event," Dooley said.

    According to two sources who talked to the North County Times, Arias confronted the suspect about his alcohol abuse. The suspect became “enraged,” beat Arias to death and then tried to kill himself by jumping from the balcony, according to the sources.

    Arias enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010. He became an aircrew trainee from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.