Teen uncle & grandparents beat, torture little boy until he dies on living room floor: Prosecutors

On Wednesday, police in Montana arrested the grandparents and teen uncle of a 12-year-old boy who they allegedly beat and tortured to death earlier this month.

James Sasser Jr., 47, Patricia Batts, 48, and James Sasser III, 14, were charged with deliberate homicide in connection with James Hurley’s death. Investigators said they have videos showing relatives torture Hurley before his death on February 3, according to KBZK.

On February 3, Gallatin County police were called to a West Yellowstone home in regards to Hurley’s unattended death. A responding deputy called for detectives after noting various wounds and contusions all over Hurley’s body, the news station reported.

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On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office arrested James Sasser Jr., Patricia Batts, and a…

Posted by Gallatin County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, February 12, 2020


An investigation revealed that Hurley’s grandparents regularly beat him and withheld food, according to Fox News.

James Sasser III, reportedly claimed he found Hurley standing over Batts with a knife on January 27. The 14-year-old allegedly admitted to kicking his nephew in the head 24 to 36 hours before his death.

Fox News reported that the teen uncle is 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 300 pounds — while Hurley was 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed roughly 100 pounds.

An autopsy determined that Hurley died from head trauma. Batts reportedly told investigators that Hurley slept on the living room floor and was moaning and mumbling before she found him dead the next morning. Authorities alleged that nobody in the home sought medical attention for Hurley before his death.

In addition to his grandparents and uncle, Hurley was reportedly living with his 18-year-old aunt and his 6-year-old uncle when he died. KZBK reported that Hurley’s mother sent the boy to live with his father while she lived in Texas. The father died two years earlier, resulting in Hurley moving in with his other relatives.

Butts reportedly claimed Hurley’s behavior became erratic following his father’s death. She said he started drinking alcohol and was stealing items from them and stores, according to the news station.

Documents stated that the grandparents and uncle all claimed Hurley mentioned hearing voices and was seen self-harming on multiple instances. They also alleged that the boy was suicidal.

Inside the home, detectives reportedly discovered a dent in the wall consistent with someone’s head colliding into it. Trace amounts of blood were located near the indentation. Detectives reportedly located copious amounts of blood that was cleaned from the floor and other areas of the home. The grandparents and uncle denied cleaning any blood.

Bail for Batts and James Sasser Jr. was set at $750,000 and $500,000, respectively. James Sasser III’s bail was set at $500,000. A juvenile court is in the process of determining whether the 14-year-old will be tried as an adult.

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[Featured image: James Hurley/Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office]