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Father's skull badly beaten, ME testifies

LAWRENCEVILLE - The beating that killed Rupert Noble was a vicious one.

An autopsy showed both the Norcross man's cheekbones were broken, his jaw fractured in two places, multiple teeth knocked out, nose broken, with two gaping fractures on the right side of his skull and a linear break along the entire left.

Prosecutors say the damage was inflicted by a fireplace poker in the hands of his son.

Dr. Carol Terry, Gwinnett Medical Examiner, testified that Noble, 59, died of head and brain trauma sometime on Christmas Eve 2006. His live-in son, Mark Noble, 37, is on trial on charges of killing him and stealing his Honda Accord before authorities apprehended him near the Georgia-North Carolina border on New Year's Eve that year.

Family members have testified the two were prone to violent clashes, once leading the younger Noble to whack his father over the head with a block of wood.

Mark Noble's defense attorney argues his client, a father himself, is an upstanding Jamaican immigrant and practicing Rastafarian who had no motive to kill his father.

Baron Daniel, an American Express representative, said the victim's credit card was used sporadically around North Georgia, beginning the day he likely died. It was last used at a Dahlonega gas station the day after Christmas, Daniel said.

Another witness, automotive technician Mike Bowen, placed Mark Noble in the Dahlonega area that day. The Lumpkin County man testified he helped Mark Noble fix a malfunctioning power window in a Honda Accord and later recognized him during an Atlanta newscast.

"I thought, 'Holy Moly,'" said Bowen, who called 911. "I didn't know what to think."

Family members have said the defendant's estranged son could have been living in North Carolina at the time.

Testimony in the trial is to resume at 9 a.m. today. The prosecution is expected to rest its case before noon, after which Mark Noble could elect to testify.