New details have been disclosed about how a Montana boy was tortured and killed by his own family, the Billings Gazette reports.
James Hurley, 12, was found dead February 3 at his home in West Yellowstone, Montana, where authorities allege that he was beaten and left to die on the living room floor.
His grandparents, James Sasser Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, and other family members have been charged in connection with his death.
Court documents filed this week allege that Batts made Hurley sit in front of fans half naked while she sprayed him with water.
“That’s what they do with cats, right?” Batts is quoted as saying, according to the court filings.
Batts claims that Hurley’s behavior worsened over the last several months and told detectives that he “drove her nuts.”
Hurley’s teenage uncle, who was living in the home, is said to have struck Hurley with a paddle.
Hurley’s aunt reportedly told a boyfriend that her nephew was akin to “a piece of (crap) off of my f***ing shoe” and wanted him to “go and die in the woods.”
The documents allege that Batts forced Hurley to do jumping jacks and “wall sits” if he wasn’t doing homework. Batts told police she pulled the boy out of school in September because he had groped a girl, but the school superintendent told authorities he was not aware of such an allegation.
A neighbor told authorities that in December, Hurley had run out of the home “as fast as he could.” Hurley’s relatives caught up to him, punched him and dragged him back to the home, the neighbor claimed.
Court records indicate the Hurley may have been experiencing mental health challenges, but they were not addressed.
Weeks before the killing, the 14-year-old uncle claimed Hurley was standing over Batts with a knife.
The uncle admitted to investigators that he kicked Hurley before he died. The uncle is about 6 feet tall and 300 pounds. Hurley was 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed about 100 pounds.
An autopsy found that Hurley died as a result of head trauma.
Batts said Hurley would sleep on the floor of the living room and had been moaning and making other sounds before she found him dead the following morning.
No one sought help for the boy, authorities have said.
Hurley’s biological father was killed after an ATV accident two years ago, according to the report.
The grandparents and uncle are each charged with felony deliberate homicide.
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