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Son dealt life sentence in father's beating death

LAWRENCEVILLE - A judge sentenced Mark Noble to life in prison Friday for bludgeoning his father to death on Christmas Eve 2006.

A jury found Noble, 37, of Norcross, guilty on all six counts he faced, including murder and aggravated assault.

Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil imposed a life sentence plus 10 years against Noble in the slaying of his 59-year-old father, Rupert Noble, an accountant.

The jury deliberated about a day before returning the guilty verdict, said Assistant District Attorney Rich Vandever, who prosecuted.

Nobody witnessed the killing in the Robinwood townhome shared by the two men. Prosecutors believe the victim angered Mark Noble by failing to help him find a young son who'd relocated to North Carolina with his mother.

Mark Noble flew into a rage and bashed in his father's skull, using household items including a fireplace poker, a lamp and a small lion statue, evidence showed.

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

Noble waived his right to testify during the trial, which lasted just three days.

Testimony showed Mark Noble stole his father's Honda Accord after the beating and fled Norcross for the Georgia mountains, possibly en route to see his son. Authorities spotted him a few days after the killing in Gilmer County - about 90 miles north of Gwinnett - and arrested him for driving the Honda with stolen plates.

Evidence photos show that Rupert Noble's body was left stuffed between a toilet and sink in his bathroom, his head on a pillow. On the faucet lay a framed photo of his grandson, a detail left by his son that Vandever called a final twist of the knife.