In the savage July 4, 2015, homicide, Jace Crehan was found guilty of second-degree murder after confessing to violently stabbing and strangling his girlfriend’s convicted molester inside the man’s Zachary trailer and placing his body into a 55-gallon container. Crehan, 23, of Walker, faces a mandatory life sentence when state District Judge Tony Marabella sentences him on Jan. 18.
Until then, he will be held in jail. Brittany Monk, 20, also of Walker, pled guilty to manslaughter earlier this year, testified for the prosecution during Crehan’s trial, and will be sentenced by the judge the same day. She might be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. In his own defense, Crehan did not testify.
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Monk, who was nearly seven months pregnant with Crehan’s kid at the time of the incident, confessed to murdering Robert Noce Jr., 47, her mother’s former partner. Crehan was convicted in less than an hour by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury of seven women and five men, who exhibited little emotion when the decision was read. The result was 11-1 in favor.
When the verdict was read in court, Crehan’s grandparents sobbed. Hillar Moore III, whose office earlier turned down Crehan’s request to plead guilty to manslaughter, saying a functioning criminal justice system served justice.
“You don’t want people taking matters into their own hands,” he explained. Crehan’s legal team has argued for everything from an acquittal to manslaughter. Prosecutors Eli Abad and Darwin Miller said Crehan’s decisions are why he was charged with second-degree murder in their final statements to the jury on Thursday.
A prosecutor denied a Walker on Tuesday, a day after his child’s mother pleaded guilty to manslaughter and volunteered to testify against him. When Crehan came into Noce’s trailer in the pre-dawn hours and attacked a sleeping Noce, Miller told the panel that he carried out “vigilante” justice.
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One of Crehan’s attorneys, Franz Borghardt, described the slaying as a “revenge” homicide done in the heat of emotion in his closing argument. Just 13 days before his death, Noce pled “no contest” to sexually molesting Monk as a kid in state court in Baton Rouge, and was sentenced to five years probation. He was her guardian for approximately a decade. In criminal court, a no-contest plea has the same weight as a guilty plea, but it cannot be used against a person in civil court.
Crehan characterized himself as Monk’s “guardian, protector, and hope” in post-arrest conversations with The Advocate. Crehan argued what he did wasn’t wrong in taped interactions with officials that the jury heard. “I’m much better now. There is no regret. Is this regret? I take no responsibility for what I did.” In his own defense, a Walker man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s convicted molester in 2015 did not testify Wednesday.
Abad repeated to jurors Thursday, as he did in his opening remarks to the jury on Monday, that the case was about choices and consequences. “They were there for a specific reason. They had no legal justification for being in this trailer “Crehan and Monk, replied. “They were looking for Robby Noce. They were there to inflict the most heinous of pains.”
Noce was asleep in his bed, according to Abad, and had not offended anybody. At the commencement of the trial, Crehan’s lawyers stated the situation resembled a Shakespearean tragedy. Crehan and Monk were presented as modern-day Romeo and Juliet.
While speaking to the jury on Thursday, Miller sneered at such a concept. “We don’t live in a democracy where we can take the law into our own hands to do justice,” he remarked. “That is exactly what occurred here. This is not a tragedy by Shakespeare. This isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster. Whether you like him or not, this is the murdering of a human being.” Monk testified Tuesday that she expected Noce, whom she referred to as “daddy” while living with him, would serve ten years in prison.
Borghardt told the jurors, “Revenge is an act of emotion, and this is very much an act of passion.” “We don’t feel this is murder in the second degree.” It’s something else, we believe.” Borghardt claimed that as a youngster, Noce used Monk as a “sex slave,” even paying her for sex. Crehan saw Noce as a “possible threat” to his pregnant fiancée at the time, he claimed.
“It would have been easy for Crehan to cut bait and leave,” Borghardt added, “but he loved her.” To the jury, he admitted that Crehan and Monk, who were engaged at the time, “concocted a very, very stupid scheme.” He said, however, that their intention was never to murder Noce, but rather to rough him up and convey a message that they were not to be troubled.
Borghardt stated, “There was a breakdown of control.” “It was just too much when they encountered ‘daddy.'” Crehan used Google to establish Noce was still residing at the exact South Vernon Road location she remembered, according to Monk. Before driving to Noce’s trailer, the pair went to Walmart and bought blue latex gloves and walkie-talkie batteries, she added.
They were dressed in black, and Monk kept her long hair up in a bun to prevent leaving any behind. Monk, on the other hand, tossed her gloves in the barrel where Noce’s body was discovered inside the trailer, and her DNA was discovered on the gloves.