BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man found guilty of killing another man and stuffing his body into a drum two years ago was sentenced to life in prison without the benefit of parole and his fiancée was sentenced to 35 years with credit for time served.
Jace Crehan, 23, and Brittany Monk, 19, both of Walker, were sentenced on Friday, January 19 for the 2015 strangulation and stabbing death of Robert Noce Jr., 47, of Zachary. Crehan was convicted of second degree murder. He has 30 days to appeal the sentence.
Monk pleaded guilty in June to manslaughter in Noce's death and agreed to testify against Crehan. She avoided the life without parole sentence with her plea and faces anywhere from 35 years behind bars. She also has 30 days to appeal her sentence.
Crehan was found guilty of strangling Noce and stuffing his body into a 55-gallon barrel that was found in the victim's kitchen on July 4, 2015. An autopsy revealed Noce died from strangulation, but he was stabbed multiple times as well. The victim's brother, Delmonico Noce, said he's still adjusting to a new normal. "It's just a hard, everyday struggle," he said. "They cold-blooded killed my brother for no reason, but for spite," he said.
Noce's daughter directly addressed both Crehan and Monk during the sentencing, saying, "Taking her father was not the answer to their problems." She went on to say that she was, "Robbed of a relationship with her father," as he was full of knowledge and the definition of a great man. Towards the end of her statement, the victim's daughter forgave Crehan and Monk for her father's death. "Jace and Brittany, I forgive you. Not for you, but for me. That's the healthy choice to make," she said. "I love you both and wish you well in your endeavors."
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said this was a tragic case where no one wins. "This is a cold-blooded, calculated, gruesome case," said Moore. "And you have two young people that did something bad and awful, wrecked the rest of their life and their families."
Moore said he feels that before Judge Tony Marabella handed down Monk's sentence, he reviewed the gruesome details and took into consideration Monk's age and maturity level at the time of the crime. Monk was 17-years-old when she was arrested on July 13, 2015. "These are not fun or good times to be here. This is difficult and emotional," Moore said.
Judge Marabella also revealed in court that the killers attempted to paint this crime as a justified killing, but the jurors saw otherwise. "The judge believed it was vigilante justice and that's something we can't have with 104 murders last year," Moore said. "How would you like this to happen 104 other times to your family member or someone's family member who loses someone as important as this one is to them?"
Noce was convicted of sexually assaulting Monk from when she was 4-years-old to when she was 13. Noce pleaded no contest to the sexual claims just two weeks before he was found dead in the barrel.