ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - A grand jury heard a controversial case Wednesday afternoon, involving a couple accused of murdering a Zachary man who was a convicted sex offender. The grand jury has indicted the couple and has officially charged them both with second-degree murder.
The District Attorney's office presented the case Wednesday against Jace Crehan, 21, and Brittany Monk, 17, to a grand jury. Monk is pregnant with an September due date.
The duo is accused of killing Robert Noce, Jr., 47, at his home located in the 3000 block of South Vernon Road. Noce's body was found stuffed in a 55-gallon drum on July 4, 2015.
An autopsy revealed that Noce died from strangulation, but he was stabbed multiple times as well.
Court records show that Noce had accepted a plea deal for sex crimes against a juvenile less than two weeks before his death. He pleaded "no contest" (neither admitted to nor denied) to a charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
Although Noce was sentenced to 10 years in prison, he was given credit for time served and the remainder of his sentence was suspended by Judge Trudy White. He was placed on supervised probation for 5 years.
The probable cause report notes that the abuse occurred for several years and started when the child was 4-years-old.
"Her mother moved out because she and Noce were 'arguing a lot,'" the deputy noted in the report. "The child reported incidents when [Noce] would come into her room at night and tell her, 'Your mom's on her way to get you,' after she would get up and get ready and wait for her, however, she would not show up. [Noce] would tell her, 'Your mom doesn't love you,' 'Your mom doesn't want you.'"
Court records indicate that Monk may have been the victim of the sex crimes, but officials with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office say they cannot comment on that part of the investigation.
In an article published by The Advocate, Crehan allegedly confessed to the murder, stating that he killed Noce because Noce "had raped Monk for years and received a light sentence…"
Debbie Ponder, who ran a daycare center down the street where the murder happened, said, a couple of years ago, she babysat Noce's daughter and Monk, the girl's older, half-sister. She told WAFB's Cheryl Mercedes that she was shocked by the allegations against Noce.
"For the four years I kept his girls, I never saw any of that," Ponder said. "I don't believe he deserved to die, especially to be murdered like that."
A petition related to this case is posted on the site Change.org. It asks for Monk to be pardoned for her participation in the murder. The petition has 610 supporters.
Jace Crehan and Brittany Monk are being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.