Patricia Batts Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Grandson

Patricia Batts Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Grandson

Patricia Batts has been sentenced to life in prison for the deliberate killing of her 12-year-old grandson, James “Alex” Hurley, in West Yellowstone. The sentencing, handed down by Gallatin County District Court Judge John Brown, also includes two 10-year sentences for criminal child endangerment and tampering with witnesses or informants. Batts pleaded guilty to these charges last May and will serve her time at the Montana State Women’s Prison.

During the trial, video evidence was presented showing the systematic abuse inflicted upon Hurley by Batts. Judge Brown described the evidence as the most horrific he had ever seen during his time on the bench. Hurley was found emaciated, starved, and had been subjected to forced exercise and routine beatings. The autopsy revealed numerous wounds and bruises, as well as a gash on the back of his head that had likely occurred days prior.

It was discovered during the trial that Batts’ son, James Sassler III, had delivered the fatal blow using a wood paddle. Batts was found responsible for facilitating the crime and creating an environment that encouraged Hurley’s abuse. She also admitted to not seeking immediate medical attention for Hurley after he was struck in the head and suggested to her children that they lie to law enforcement.

Hurley had initially moved to West Yellowstone to live with his father, who later died due to an infection in 2018. Batts, his grandmother, took care of him thereafter. Family members who testified during the sentencing expressed grief, disgust, and anger towards Batts. They emphasized that she could have reached out to other relatives for help if she was unable to care for the boy.

Batts is the last of the five individuals involved in the brutal murder to be sentenced. Her husband, James Sasser Jr., pleaded guilty to felony deliberate homicide. Gage Roush, a family friend, received a five-year deferred sentence for felony assault on a minor. James Sasser III, Hurley’s uncle, was sentenced to serve until he is 18 for deliberate homicide, followed by probation until he is 25. Hurley’s aunt, Madison Sasser, was sentenced to youth probation until she is 21, with probation continuing until she is 25.


Author: CrimeDoor

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