A Baton Rouge judge did not abuse his discretion in sentencing a Walker woman to 35 years behind bars in the gruesome 2015 slaying of a man who two weeks earlier had been placed on probation after pleading “no contest" to molesting her as a child, a state appeals court ruled.

Brittany Monk, 21, who faced up to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the killing of Robert Noce Jr., claims the sentence imposed on her in January by then-state District Judge Tony Marabella was illegally excessive.

A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal disagreed with Monk on Tuesday, saying the facts of the case would have supported a second-degree murder conviction. Such a conviction could have carried a term of life in prison without parole.

"The sentence imposed was not grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense, and thus, was not unconstitutionally excessive," Circuit Judge Michael McDonald wrote for the appellate court panel that included fellow Circuit Judges William Crain and Guy Holdridge.

The panel’s ruling came a day after a different 1st Circuit panel affirmed the second-degree murder conviction and life prison term given to Monk's boyfriend, Jace Crehan, 24, of Walker.

Noce, 47, of Zachary, was a former boyfriend of Monk's mother and raised Monk for about 10 years after her mother abandoned her.

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. Noce was stabbed and strangled to death and stuffed inside a 55-gallon container.

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In upholding Crehan’s conviction and sentence, the 1st Circuit on Monday rejected his argument that his killing of Noce was manslaughter — a heat of passion crime — rather than second-degree murder, which requires specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

Monk, the court noted, admitted that neither she nor Crehan had any contact with Noce from his 2012 arrest until his death and that Noce posed no threat to them. Monk also testified at Crehan’s trial in December that Crehan was not upset by the resolution of Noce’s case.

“The jury rejected defendant’s assertion that essentially he was 'forced' to kill Noce because of a 'failure of the judicial system,' and that his vigilante justice was somehow justified as a result,” the appeals court said of Crehan in its ruling in his case.

In her appeal, Monk cited the sexual abuse she suffered at Noce's hands, her status as a juvenile at the time of his killing and Crehan’s manipulation and control over her as reasons for not deserving the harsh sentence she received.

The appeals court noted that high and maximum sentences have been imposed in the past on first-time or young offenders convicted of manslaughter under a variety of circumstances.

Crehan admitted to law enforcement authorities that he choked and stabbed Noce after dragging a sleeping Noce from his bed. Crehan said the knife he used was retrieved from Noce’s kitchen by Monk, at Crehan’s direction.

Monk testified she sprayed Noce in the face with a man’s body spray while Crehan wrestled with him and that she also punched Noce 10 to 15 times while Crehan held him down.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.