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Bloomington man pleads guilty to aggravated battery

A 20-year-old Bloomington man pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated battery. 

As part of a plea deal, Evan G. McArdle was sentenced to nine years in prison, with six years suspended, for an incident that took place Sept. 2, 2017. The events of that day are outlined in court documents. 

Bloomington police were called to the apartment of McArdle and his wife, Tabitha McArdle. When they arrived, there were three people yelling and fighting outside. 

The incident began when Tabitha called her parents asking for help after McArdle had allegedly slammed her head against a door multiple times, court documents show. 

Her parents, Steven Martinez and Heather Carter, drove to the apartment after the phone call intending to pick up their daughter. Martinez went inside the apartment, while Carter stayed in the car.  

From this point, the various accounts about how the fight happened are conflicting. 

McArdle told police Martinez came to the door to get Tabitha. While she grabbed her purse, McArdle said he pleaded with her to explain why she was leaving. Then, McArdle said, Martinez hit him on the head with a ratchet socket. McArdle told police he pulled the knife out in self-defense. 

However, Martinez’s version of events differs. He told police Tabitha said she needed to get her purse before they left but he didn’t want her to go back inside alone, so he stood in the doorway and waited for her. 

McArdle started asking what was going on, and when Martinez said Tabitha was leaving for the night, McArdle grabbed her and put a knife to her chest, documents show. Martinez said he then attacked McArdle with a pipe, hoping to free Tabitha. 

McArdle fought back with the knife, Martinez told police. McArdle allegedly stabbed Martinez three times, twice on purpose and once on accident, according to the documents.

Martinez then fell and hit his head on the concrete. He told police his memory was fuzzy after this.

Tabitha’s account to police takes over where Martinez’s memory ends. She said McArdle dropped the knife and began kicking Martinez. She told police she then stabbed McArdle two or three times. 

She told police she believed McArdle was trying to kill her father because he had threatened to do so in the past.

Martinez said he brought the pipe with him because of these previous threats and because he knew McArdle carried a knife. 

McArdle and Martinez have been in two other fights before, court documents show. 

The plea agreement amended McArdle’s charges from attempted murder, criminal confinement and domestic battery. 

In addition to McArdle’s nine-year sentence, the plea agreement also included six years of probation, no-contact orders for both Tabitha and Martinez and restitution for hospital bills. 

Before accepting the plea deal, Judge Marc Kellams asked the prosecution to explain why it was accepting the agreement. 

The deputy prosecuting attorney, Erika Oliphant, agreed that the events of Sept. 2 most likely happened much like the police outlined. Additionally, she pointed out the complicated nature of the incident. 

“There was a lot of give and take in the violence,” Oliphant said. “It’s a complicated family matter to be sure.” 

Kellams also talked extensively with McArdle about his history of mental illness, his criminal history and the events of the day in question. 

He expressed concern that McArdle would hurt someone else after he is released from prison and asked McArdle whether that concern was valid. 

In response, McArdle said, “I absolutely have no intentions of ever being in a jail cell again.”  

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