A state appeals court has affirmed a Walker man's second-degree murder conviction and life prison term in the 2015 vigilante-style stabbing and strangulation of his girlfriend's convicted molester in his Zachary trailer.

Jace Crehan, 24, argued in his appeal that the state proved he was guilty only of manslaughter because he initially did not intend to kill Robert Noce Jr., but wanted to scare him.

Crehan claims it was sudden heat of blood that caused him to repeatedly stab Noce and choke him on July 4, 2015.

But Crehan, according to East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors, knew of Brittany Monk's sexual abuse long before Noce's June 2015 "no contest" plea to carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Noce was put on probation.

The state also argues that while Crehan may arguably not have accepted the resolution of Noce's case, it was Monk's choice to make. As it argued to the jury that convicted Crehan in December, the state says vigilantism cannot be condoned.

A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge noted Monday that Monk admitted neither she nor Crehan had any contact with Noce from his 2012 arrest until his death.

"To find defendant reasonably deprived of cool reflection weeks after the `provoking' event, and years after Brittany's last communication or contact with Noce, would set a very dangerous precedent ..." Circuit Judge Allison Penzato wrote for the panel.

"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," Penzato added.

Then-state District Judge Tony Marabella, when he sentenced Crehan in January to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole for second-degree murder and Monk to 35 years behind bars on her manslaughter guilty plea, called their killing of Noce a "diabolical" act and "vigilante" justice.

Noce, 47, was a former boyfriend of Monk's mother and raised Monk for about a decade after her mother abandoned her. Noce denied sexually abusing Monk but nevertheless pleaded no contest, which carried the same weight as a guilty plea in criminal court.

Monk was 17 and seven months pregnant with Crehan's child when Noce was killed. She has appealed her sentence to the 1st Circuit, arguing it is excessive.

In reciting the chilling and gruesome facts of Noce's slaying, the 1st Circuit said Crehan and Monk dressed in dark clothes for stealth; purchased gloves and batteries for walkie-talkies; drove 45 minutes to Noce's trailer; snuck in through a window after Crehan removed an air conditioner; walked past an exit to get into Noce's bedroom; surprised him while sleeping in bed; pulled him out of bed and beat him unconscious.

Crehan asked Monk to bring him a knife, which he used to stab Noce in the head five or six times. He tied a leather belt around Noce's neck and "pulled so hard he used Noce's back for leverage," the apellate court said.

Crehan stuffed Noce's body inside a 55-gallon plastic container that Monk said Noce used to make wine.

Monk testified at Crehan's trial that she punched Noce 10 to 15 times while her boyfriend held him down. She said she did not stab Noce.

Penzato was joined by Circuit Judges John Michael Guidry and Mitch Theriot.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.