A grandfather in Montana is facing several charges after he admitted to taking part in torturing his 12-year-old grandson to death.

Authorities believed that James "Alex" Hurley sustained extensive torture and abuse at the hands of his relatives.

James Sasser Jr., the Montana grandfather, pleaded guilty to several charges, including felony deliberate homicide, criminal child endangerment, and witness tampering at the Gallatin County District Court on Monday, August 9.

James Sasser Jr. would reportedly be sentenced to 100 years in the Montana state prison for deliberate homicide as part of the plea deal.

Prosecutors and defense also agreed that the Montana grandfather would be sentenced to 10 years in prison for the criminal child endangerment charge and 10 years for tampering with a witness. He will serve all of his sentences at the same time.

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Apart from James Sasser Jr., several other kin of the 12-year-old boy also faced charges. Sasser Jr.'s wife or Hurley's grandmother, Patricia Batts, 48, and their children Madison Sasser, 18, and James Sasser III, 14, were also allegedly involved in the boy's death, as well as 18-year-old Gage Roush, who is not related to the family.

Madison pleaded guilty to charges of felony aggravated kidnapping and will be under probation until she turns 25. She would also testify against her family as part of her plea agreement. James Sasser III was sentenced to juvenile detention until he's 18 after he pleaded guilty to felony deliberate homicide. 

PEOPLE reported that Patricia Batts still awaits trial, but she's charged with deliberate homicide, strangulation of a partner or family member, aggravated kidnapping, and criminal child endangerment. 

Prosecutors seek the death penalty on Batt's case despite pleading not guilty. She's being held without bond.

Montana Grandfather, Relatives Torture James "Alex" Hurley

After James "Alex" Hurley's father, Tommy Tate, died in 2018, the boy was then sent to live with his grandparents. Hurley's mother reportedly contacted the family numerous times, but Batts always blocked her.

Court documents revealed some disturbing scenes caught in videos inside the family's home in West Yellowstone in Montana.

Investigators noted that family members had videos of themselves spraying the boy with water, verbally berating him, hitting him with a paddle and other objects, and choking him.

In one video, Batts was seen twisting one of the boy's arms behind his back. Another video showed Batts strangling the boy and holding him against a wall. Sasser III, on the other hand, was seen on video striking the boy with a paddle.

Madison allegedly helped hold the boy down while he was being abused. She also told her boyfriend that she wanted her nephew to "go and die in the woods." Authorities said there's also a video showing Gage Roush, Sasser III's friend, abusing Hurley.

The motive of the family members for hurting Hurley was still unclear. However, Sasser III claimed that they witnessed the 12-year-old boy stealing items and become visibly drunk. 

The family also said that Hurley continuously harms and scratches himself and at one point rammed his head in an entertainment center. Sasser III further noted that he woke up and found Hurley behind Batts standing with a knife in 2020. The family added that Hurley was suicidal, and they had to take turns staying up at night to watch over him.

James "Alex" Hurley was found dead in February 2020. Responding police officers found numerous wounds and contusions on his body.

Sasser III admitted that he kicked Hurley in the head 24-36 hours before the boy's death. An autopsy report said that Hurley died from trauma to the back of his head.

The Montana grandfather reportedly told police that he believed the punishments to the boy were too much and that he was already trying to divorce his wife and move out of the house. But authorities noted that nobody in the home sought medical attention before Hurley's death.

Child Abuse in the U.S.

The 12-year-old grandson of the Montana grandfather was not the only one who experienced abuse in the U.S.

Data from Statista noted that there were at least 656,243 victims of child abuse in the country as of 2019. Over 1,800 were reported to be fatalities due to the abuse. 

Meanwhile, New York was reported to be the highest state where child abuse is known to be rampant.

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written By: Joshua Summers

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