BOZEMAN, Mont. (WGHP) -- The grandparents of a 12-year-old boy who was beaten to death in West Yellowstone were charged Thursday with deliberate homicide along with the victim’s 14-year-old uncle.
James Sasser Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court in the Feb. 3 death of James Alex Hurley.
After his death, investigators found evidence, including videos, that indicated Hurley’s grandparents and his 14-year-old uncle regularly abused him, including beating him with a wooden paddle and locking up food.
Batts and the 14-year-old told investigators that Hurley and his uncle had a “bad fight” on Jan. 27. The 14-year-old also acknowledged kicking Hurley in the head multiple times in the 24 to 36 hours before his death, charging documents said. The autopsy found Hurley had bruising all over his body and died from trauma to the head.
The uncle is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 300 pounds, while Hurley was 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed about 100 pounds, charging documents said.
The 14-year-old was charged with deliberate homicide in youth court Wednesday and his bail was set at $500,000, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.