A Walker man awaiting a new trial in the 2015 vigilante-style slaying of his girlfriend’s convicted molester wants to know if she will testify against him again and, if so, what, if any, promises have been made to her by the state.

Jace Crehan, 26, received an answer to one of those questions Thursday when a prosecutor said during a hearing that the state currently has no agreements with Brittany Monk, who is serving a 35-year prison term for manslaughter in the killing.

"At this point in time there are no promises, no agreements, no inducements," Darwin Miller said inside state District Judge Fred Crifasi's 19th Judicial District courtroom. "There are none, zero. That could possibly change."

Crehan was found guilty by a non-unanimous East Baton Rouge Parish jury in 2017 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the stabbing and strangling death of Robert Noce Jr., 47, in Zachary.

But a state appeals court threw out his conviction and sentence last summer and sent the case back to Baton Rouge state district court for another trial. That action came several months after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed split-jury verdicts in criminal cases.

At Crehan's first trial, Monk testified against him for the state after pleading guilty to manslaughter. Her 35-year term is five years shy of the maximum penalty allowed for that crime.

Monk, 23, is now seeking to have her sentence reduced.

One of Crehan's attorneys filed a motion Wednesday asking Crifasi to determine from Monk or her lawyers "whether she will personally appear and testify against him or will she refuse to testify ..."

Assistant Public Defender Carson Marcantel also filed a motion seeking the disclosure "of any promises or inducements made to Brittany Monk by the State of Louisiana or its agents, in exchange for her testimony against Mr. Crehan, at his second trial."

Monk's attorney, Kathryn Jakuback Burke, said during Thursday's hearing that Monk would not ignore a lawfully issued subpoena to appear at Crehan's second trial.

But whether Monk would testify, Burke added, "falls under the attorney-client privilege."

Burke then asked Miller if Monk had satisfied her obligations under her prior agreement with prosecutors.

"She cooperated. She was given consideration for that in her plea. The court gave her consideration at sentencing," Miller replied.

The prosecutor stressed that he did not wish to be "locked in" to saying he will call Monk as a witness at Crehan's retrial.

If the state issues a subpoena for Monk to appear in court and testify again and she refuses to give additional testimony, the state can have her previous trial testimony read into the record at Crehan's retrial.

Crifasi set the next court date in the case for March 4. A trial date is expected to be chosen then.

Monk was 17 and seven months pregnant with Crehan's child when she and Crehan broke into Noce's trailer the night of July 4, 2015.

Crehan told detectives that the knife he used to stab Noce was retrieved from Noce’s kitchen by Monk, at Crehan’s direction.

Monk testified at Crehan's trial that she sprayed Noce in the face with a man’s body spray while Crehan wrestled with him. She denied stabbing Noce but admitted punching him 10 to 15 times while Crehan held him down.

Crehan tried to plead guilty to manslaughter before his trial, but prosecutors turned him down.

Noce, who two weeks before his death had been put on probation after pleading "no contest" to molesting Monk as a child, was stabbed, strangled and stuffed inside a 55-gallon barrel that Monk said Noce used to make wine.

Noce was a former boyfriend of Monk's mother and raised Monk for about 10 years after her mother abandoned her. He denied abusing Monk.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.