Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter of man convicted of molesting her

Jace Crehan (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Jace Crehan (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Robert Noce (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Robert Noce (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman pleaded guilty to her part in the murder of a man who was convicted of molesting her when she was a child.

It could be the key prosecutors need in convicting her ex-fiance of second degree murder. It was a brutal crime scene that rocked a Zachary neighborhood on July 4, 2015.  The then 47-year-old, Robert Noce Jr., was stabbed several times and strangled. According to a police report, Noce's body was found the next day stuffed in a 55-gallon barrel inside his kitchen.

The gruesome murder left neighbor's speechless.

"I just had a hard time understanding why somebody would do this. I just still don't understand," Debby Ponder said in 2015.

It was not long before Brittany Monk, 19, and her then-fiancée Jace Crehan were both arrested and charged with second degree murder in the case. 

Almost two years later, Monk is now coming clean. She pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in Noce's death. "She gave and discussed a very detailed factual basis as to why she entered this guilty plea," said EBR district attorney Hillar Moore.

Noce pleaded no contest to molesting Monk prior to the murder in 2012. Moore says while he cannot go into detail, he believes some of Monk's new testimony that she will provide when her former lover goes to trial next month, may paint a different picture than what she previously told detectives.

Noce was placed on probation.

RELATED: Grand jury indicts couple accused of murdering convicted sex offender

Monk and Crehan were arrested and charged with his murder. Monk was only 17-years-old at the time of her arrest and was reportedly pregnant with Crehan's child. The child was born in September of 2015.

"Some of the allegations that had come out through news and I think that those other tangential matters that have been raised will be addressed at the trial in this matter," said Moore.

By pleading guilty to manslaughter, Monk has also agreed to testify against Crehan.

"The only agreement is that she testify completely and truthfully as to her involvement and the involvement of anybody else or any other matters that are relevant to this case whatsoever," said Moore.

While Crehan still faces second degree murder charges, Monk avoided the life without parole sentence with her plea and will instead face anywhere from 10 to 40 years behind bars based on her testimony during her former lover's trial.

"The judge will hear her testimony and her involvement and based on what she does and how she cooperates, the judge will eventually determine what the appropriate sentence will be," said Moore.

Crehan's trial is set to begin Monday, July 24.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.