In a Baton Rouge courtroom raw with emotion, Jace Crehan was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole and his girlfriend, Brittany Monk, received a 35-year prison term for what the judge called the "diabolical" and "vigilante" killing of a Zachary man whose body was found in a 55-gallon container two weeks after he pleaded no contest to molesting her as a child.
State District Judge Tony Marabella acknowledged spending many hours agonizing over what would constitute a just sentence for Monk, who was 17 and seven months pregnant with Crehan's child when Robert Noce Jr., 47, was killed July 4, 2015. Thirteen days before that, Noce was put on probation.
Minutes before Marabella pronounced both sentences, he heard two powerful yet contrasting victim impact statements — one from Cameron Noce, Noce's biological daughter and younger sister of Monk, and the other from Robert Noce's older brother Delmonico Noce.
Cameron Noce, who called her father a hero and "my definition of a great man," said Crehan amputated part of her body when he strangled and stabbed her father to death.
A Walker woman testified calmly but in chilling detail Tuesday how she and her boyfriend, Jace Crehan, broke into the Zachary trailer of her c…
"You played around with and destroyed lives," she said to Crehan, 23, of Walker, through tears.
To Monk, Cameron Noce said her big sister betrayed her.
"Taking my father was not the answer to your problems," she said.
Robert Noce, a former boyfriend of Monk's mother, was not Monk's biological father but did raise her for about a decade after her mother abandoned her.
Cameron Noce said she still loves Crehan and Monk and also forgives them — "not for you but for me," because she will no longer let what they did to her father define her.
Delmonico Noce was far less conciliatory, walking so close to Crehan that sheriff's deputies had to separate them. Noce went on to allege that the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office has evidence that his brother did not molest Monk.
A Walker man accused of murdering his girlfriend's convicted molester in 2015 did not testify in his own defense Wednesday, but a jury heard J…
"If it weren't for the District Attorney my brother would still be alive," he charged. Noce also blurted out after Monk was sentenced to 35 years that she too should be serving a life sentence.
Afterward outside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office handled Robert Noce's case and the case of Crehan and Monk properly.
Jace Crehan, who confessed to fatally stabbing and strangling his girlfriend's convicted molester inside the man's Zachary trailer and stuffin…
"It's emotional all the way around," Moore said. "He's entitled to his feeling and I respect those feelings."
The district attorney noted that Robert Noce, through his attorneys, denied sexually abusing Monk. Noce's "no contest" plea carried the same weight as a guilty plea in criminal court but could not be used against him in a civil proceeding.
Crehan, who did not testify in his own defense at his trial, chose not to make a statement Friday out of respect for the victim's family, one of his attorneys, Franz Borghardt, told Marabella.
A day after the mother of his child pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against him, a prosecutor Tuesday rejected a Walker m…
Monk made a brief statement, saying she wants to rebuild her relationship with her sister and loves her "more than I can put into words."
"I can never take the place of your father," she added. Monk said she hopes the families involved can find peace and move forward.
Lindsay Blouin, one of Monk's attorneys, told Marabella that Monk made a "catastrophic … juvenile" decision in terms of her involvement in what happened to Robert Noce.
A 19-year-old woman admitted Monday that she helped kill her convicted molester two years ago in Zachary, agreeing to plead guilty to manslaug…
Crehan's sentence was mandatory as a result of his December conviction for second-degree murder in the killing of Noce. However, Monk's sentence for her June manslaughter plea could have ranged anywhere from probation to 40 years behind bars.
During the sentencings, Marabella referred to the planning involved in the crime, the horrific aspects of the crime itself, and the lengths Crehan and Monk went to in an effort to cover up the crime, including flooding Noce's trailer and stuffing his body inside a 55-gallon plastic drum.
"The cleanup attempt failed and actually preserved evidence," the judge said, referring to bloody towels and fingerprints found in the trailer.
Marabella said the Noce case "has been painted as `this victim got what he deserved,'" but he pointed out that Monk had absolutely no contact with Noce for several years leading up to his plea and that Monk was in agreement with that June 2015 plea.
"Everyone knew he was getting probation," the judge said of Robert Noce.
If the allegations made against Noce are true, Marabella said, then what happened to Monk is horrible.
"This does not give her the right to exact vigilante justice …," the judge stressed.
In his post-sentencing comments, Moore said the killing of Noce was cold-blooded, calculated and gruesome.
"That's just something we cannot have," he said of vigilante justice.
Crehan told authorities he and Monk broke into Noce's Zachary trailer in the pre-dawn hours of July 4, 2015, and that he strangled and stabbed Noce before putting his body inside a 55-gallon container in Noce's kitchen. Monk testified at Crehan's trial that she punched Noce 10 to 15 times while her boyfriend had Noce on the ground. She also said she retrieved the knife that Crehan used to stab Noce.