A Walker woman testified calmly but in chilling detail Tuesday how she and her boyfriend, Jace Crehan, broke into the Zachary trailer of her convicted molester in the wee hours of July 4, 2015, and how Crehan strangled and stabbed the man to death during a titanic struggle in which she participated.
Brittany Monk, who pleaded guilty in June to manslaughter in the killing of Robert Noce Jr. and is awaiting sentencing next month, testified on the second day of Crehan's second-degree murder trial that it was Crehan's idea to beat up Noce and tie him up so the registered sex offender would not bother the young couple, who were expecting their first child. Crehan had never met Noce, she said.
"Yeah, I agreed to everything," the 20-year-old Monk, her ankles shackled and wearing green East Baton Rouge Parish Prison garb, acknowledged in response to a question from prosecutor Darwin Miller during her full day of testimony.
Monk noted to Carson Marcantel, one of Crehan's attorneys, that Crehan told her she didn't have to accompany him to Noce's trailer that day.
"I want to go," she remembered telling him. "I want to see him suffer."
Crehan, 23, also of Walker, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
Noce, 47, was a former boyfriend of Monk's mother. Monk testified that she lived with Noce and Noce's daughter for about 10 years after her mother left Noce. Monk testified she endured sexual abuse at the hands of Noce from the age of 4 until she was 12. Monk revealed that Noce eventually began paying her for sex — sometimes as much as $100 an hour.
Two weeks before his brutal death, Noce pleaded "no contest" to having molested Monk when she was a child. Monk testified Tuesday she expected Noce to be sentenced to 10 years at hard labor, but state District Judge Trudy White gave him a suspended 10-year term and put him on probation for five years. The only jail time Noce served was the 19 days he spent behind bars after his arrest, Monk said.
In an attempt to scare Noce and send a message to him, Monk said, she and Crehan entered Noce's trailer around 1:30 a.m. through her old bedroom after Crehan used a screwdriver to remove a window air conditioning unit from the secluded mobile home. She said they had no intent to kill Noce, and were not armed with any weapons when they climbed into the trailer. Crehan was 20 at the time; Monk was 17.
Once inside, Monk said, Crehan attacked a sleeping Noce, wrestled him to the floor of his bedroom and put him in a choke hold as Noce kicked and screamed. Monk admitted spraying Noce in the eyes with a man's body cologne during the attack and also punching him 10 to 15 times while he was on the ground.
"I just kept screaming, 'You ruined my life!'" Monk testified, noting she was nearly seven months pregnant at the time of the attack.
Monk said Noce was yelling, "You got the wrong guy" and "God forgive me." Eventually, Crehan asked Monk to bring him a knife, so she said she retrieved one from the kitchen — the "biggest" one that would inflict "the most damage" — and walked into an adjoining bathroom while Crehan stabbed Noce five or six times.
"I heard the knife stabbing him, like crunching on leaves that are brown," she recalled.
Monk said blood squirted out of Noce's neck like a ketchup pack being stepped on.
Monk said Crehan asked her to find something to tie up Noce once he stopped moving. At that point, she said, Noce was making a "gurgling" noise.
Monk said she brought her boyfriend ties and a belt that were hanging behind a door. Crehan used a tie to bind Noce's hands behind his back, she said, and he put a belt around Noce's neck.
Crehan then stood up, put one foot on Noce's back and pulled the belt upward for about a minute before dropping it, Monk said.
They then put Noce's body inside a 55-gallon plastic container that Noce had used to make wine, she said, cleaned up bloody footprints with towels and put the towels and gloves that Monk wore into the barrel. Monk's DNA was found on those gloves, authorities have said. Monk she said and Crehan bought the gloves shortly before the fatal attack. They brought walkie-talkies to the trailer for communication purposes but did not use them, she said.
Monk said they also clogged the kitchen and bathroom drains to flood the trailer in order to cover their tracks. She estimated they were in Noce's trailers for about two hours.
Monk said she and Crehan went back to their Walker apartment and showered together, then disposed of their bloody clothes at a car wash, and Crehan tossed the knife into a lake. Jurors were shown a picture of the white-handled knife, which authorities recovered from the water.
Later that Fourth of July day, Monk said, she and Crehan attended a family barbecue at the home of Crehan's grandparents.
"If we didn't go, it would have looked strange," she said. "It would have looked like something was wrong."
Monk and Crehan were arrested four days later and booked on second-degree murder charges. Monk said she gave authorities a DNA sample, a move that displeased Crehan.
"He wasn't happy. He said everything's messed up now," she recalled.
Miller, the prosecutor, asked Monk near the end of his questioning, "Has killing Robby Noce that night made your life any better?"
"No, sir," she said softly.