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A man solicited by his then-teenage niece to take part in the shooting death of a U.S. Marine during a 1991 Christmas Eve party in Vista was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison.

John Wesley Noble, 59, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year after the start of his trial.

Noble’s niece, Kimberly Andrews, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Cpl. Lindell Mitchell and was sentenced last year to 26 years to life behind bars.

Deputy District Attorney David Williams III said Mitchell was an unintended victim in the shooting. The prosecutor said the crime was carried out in retaliation for disrespect shown to Andrews, who was 16 at the time of the shooting.

Mitchell, along with some of his Marine friends, invited Andrews and her friends to a gathering at his apartment on Christmas Eve. During the get- together, an argument broke out between Andrews and Mitchell’s roommate.

Andrews threatened the Marines that she would be back with others to shoot up the apartment, authorities said. Just before midnight, a group of men burst through Mitchell’s door and carried out her earlier threat, ultimately shooting him in the back.

Investigators were unable to identify the majority of those responsible for the murder, and the case went cold in 2012.

A joint cold case investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service revealed new leads and evidence that resulted in Andrews’ arrest in Louisiana in July 2014.

The continuing investigation also led to the arrest of Noble in Hemet in 2015.

—City News Service

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