A Walker woman accused in the murder of a man she says raped her since she was a child has recently given birth while in custody and now her attorneys want her bail reduced, claiming she has received inadequate medical care while in prison.
Brittany Monk gave birth to her son Sept. 8 at the Baton Rouge Woman’s Hospital. Her attorneys filed a motion Thursday asking state District Judge Tony Marabella to reduce Monk’s bail from $400,000 to an “affordable” amount. Monk’s attorneys assert that Monk did not receive proper prenatal or postnatal care while in custody, noting that she was not examined by a qualified obstetrician even once while incarcerated at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Monk and her boyfriend, Jace Crehan, are accused of strangling and stabbing Robert Noce, of Zachary, in July before stuffing his body inside a 55-gallon plastic drum and leaving it in the kitchen of his Zachary home where it was discovered. Monk claimed she had been repeatedly raped by him since she was 4 years old, according to allegations in over 100 pages of court documents, but Crehan told the media she did not take part in the murder. She was arraigned Sept. 4 and pleaded not guilty.
Monk gave birth about 2:15 p.m. to her son, Vaan Jace Monk, weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces and 18.5 inches long, said Crehan’s father, who has custody of the child for the time being. Jace Crehan was not allowed to be present for the birth, he said.
She went into labor two weeks early, the motion says, and Monk’s counsel argues that her bail should be reduced so she can get out of prison and seek proper medical care for her and her baby.
Monk told her court-appointed attorneys, Lindsay Blouin and Joshua Newville, she only saw a prison physician three times.
None of those visits included prenatal or postnatal checkups, or examinations by a qualified obstetrician, despite the prison’s knowledge that she suffers from a condition that put her at risk for a miscarriage, early labor and breech birth, the document says.
“We have several specialists that go out to the prison to take care of inmates, but we do not have an obstetrics specialist out there,” said Mike Chustz, spokesman for Emergency Medical Services, which is in charge of the medical care of inmates at Parish Prison.
If there is a problem, the on-call nurse will evaluate the patient to see if there is a need for a visit to a specialist outside the prison, Chustz said.
“That decision would be made in conjunction with the patient and the medical personnel there,” Chustz said. “If it’s deemed necessary, they are transported out to go see one.”
Prior to giving birth, Monk was never taken to the hospital to ensure her condition, known as a bicornuate uterus, did not put her unborn son at risk, the motion says. She had received regular obstetric medical treatment up until her arrest and her physicians noted she may need more attention closer to delivery.
Post-delivery, she was told she could not spend her recovery in the prison infirmary, as the Parish Prison does not have one in the women’s dormitory, the document says.
Monk’s counsel argues the bail is excessive and does not help serve its purpose, namely to guarantee that Monk appears in court.
“Ms. Monk is a life-long resident of the state of Louisiana and has no resources outside of this state,” the document says.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Thursday he will oppose the bail reduction and that his office has plans to file a written opposition.
Monk’s counsel declined to comment Friday on the motion.
Crehan’s father, Layton Crehan, said he and his wife will be the child’s legal guardians for the foreseeable future.
Layton Crehan said he felt a rush of emotions when he got the call to come pick up his grandson.
“I was kind of scared and nervous, happy and excited all at one time, especially since I thought I had two more weeks to prepare for it,” he said.
He said he hopes caring for the child will give the couple some relief.
“That was one of the biggest obstacles that was stressing both of them out, what they gonna do with Vaan,” he said. “Now that that’s out of the way, maybe they can turn more of their time and energy ... he’s safe, he’s with family, and he’s gonna be taken care of.”