A jury of seven women and five men was selected Thursday to hear the second-degree murder trial of a Walker man accused in the July 2015 stabbing and strangling of his girlfriend's convicted molester.

Opening statements and testimony in the high-profile case of Jace Crehan, 23, will begin Monday in state District Judge Tony Marabella's 19th Judicial District courtroom. He faces a mandatory term of life in prison if found guilty as charged.

Crehan's girlfriend, 19-year-old Brittany Monk, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Robert Noce Jr. and will testify at his trial. She was initially charged with second-degree murder. Manslaughter carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison. Monk has not been sentenced.

Prosecutors have rejected Crehan's offer to plead guilty to manslaughter, citing the wishes of Noce's family as one factor in the rejection.

Monk admitted participating in the slaying of Noce a former boyfriend of her mother. Thirteen days before he was killed, Noce, 47, of Zachary, pleaded "no contest" to a charge that accused him of molesting Monk when she was a child. He was put on probation for five years.

A no contest plea carries the same weight as a guilty plea in criminal court but cannot be used against a defendant in a civil proceeding.

Noce's body was discovered July 5, 2015, stuffed inside a plastic 55-gallon container in his trailer. Monk was seven months pregnant with Crehan's child when Noce was slain. She later delivered a baby boy.

Crehan confessed to law enforcement, and in letters and phone calls to The Advocate, that he killed Noce. A news article detailed the letters. Prosecutors obtained the letters from the newspaper through a subpoena. Former Advocate reporters Maya Lau and Danielle Maddox also have been subpoenaed to possibly testify at Crehan's trial.

In his communications with the paper, Crehan has compared his actions to those of Gary Plauche, who avoided prison time after fatally shooting his son's accused molester at the Baton Rouge airport in 1984.

Three alternate jurors, two women and one man, also were chosen Thursday. An alternate juror hears all the evidence in a case but does not take part in jury deliberations unless called upon to replace one of the 12 jurors.

Crehan is represented by former prosecutors Franz Borghardt and Carson Marcantel. He is being prosecuted by Darwin Miller and Eli Abad, both special assistant district attorneys who once worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.