A 21-year-old man and his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend were indicted Wednesday on second-degree murder in the July death of a Zachary man whose body was found inside a 55-gallon drum 12 days after he was put on probation for sexually abusing the teenager when she was a child.
Jace Crehan and Brittany Monk, both of 30046 King Street No. 2, Walker, face sentences of life in prison if convicted as charged in the killing of Robert Noce Jr., 47.
Noce’s body was discovered July 4 inside his trailer. He was strangled and stabbed.
Monk, who is pregnant with Crehan’s child, claims Noce — her mother’s former boyfriend — repeatedly assaulted her throughout her childhood, beginning when she was just 4.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monk is due to deliver her baby this month. Assistant District Attorney Darwin Miller, who will prosecute the case, indicated Monk may be arraigned Thursday due to the impending birth of her child. Crehan will be arraigned at a later date.
The case has been assigned to state District Judge Tony Marabella.
Crehan’s court-appointed attorney, Carson Marcantel, declined comment on the grand jury action, as did Monk’s court-appointed lawyers, Joshua Newville and Lindsay Blouin.
Sheriff’s officials have said Crehan admitted to stabbing and strangling Noce to death in Noce’s home on South Vernon Road, and putting the body in the plastic drum. Crehan also placed Monk at the crime scene.
Police have said Monk’s DNA was discovered on the drum containing Noce’s body.
Crehan, according to a police report, admitted that he and Monk entered Noce’s residence without permission.
Crehan also confessed in recent letters and phone calls to The Advocate. Prosecutors obtained the letters from the newspaper with a subpoena.
“I couldn’t control this enormous amount of obligation. I felt indebted to her. I was more than just her boyfriend, fiancé, lover. I was her guardian, her protector, her hope,” he wrote in one letter.
In his communications with the newspaper, Crehan also compared his actions to those of Gary Plauche, who pleaded no contest to manslaughter and served no prison time after fatally shooting his son’s accused molester, karate teacher Jeff Doucet, at the Baton Rouge airport in 1984.
Moore said he could not discuss the comparisons Crehan has drawn to the Plauche case.
“Each case has to be looked at on its own,” Moore said.
Noce, who was charged in 2013 with the aggravated rape of Monk, pleaded no contest June 22 to carnal knowledge of a juvenile. He received a suspended 10-year prison term and was put on active supervised probation for five years.
Monk lived with Noce until 2012, court documents indicate. She told police she spent her childhood with Noce being sedated and raped by him. Monk’s mother had left her and her younger sister behind after a breakup with Noce, according to police reports.
Investigators believe Noce died before being stuffed into the container in his kitchen.
Crehan and Monk remain in custody. Their bail is set at $400,000 apiece.