Gavel and open law book

HELENA, MT- A West Yellowstone woman pleaded guilty on Friday to several charges in relation to the death of her grandson. The plea agreement reached in this case asks the judge to impose a life sentence. 

Patricia Batts admitted to deliberate homicide of her 12-year-old grandson James Alex Hurley, with the assistance of James Sasser, at her home in West Yellowstone in 2020. 

She also admitted to failing to provide medical attention to Hurley after he was severely assaulted, and to tampering with the testimony of witnesses by trying to get family members to give false statements to law enforcement.

Batts’ pleaded guilty to Deliberate homicide, felony child criminal endangerment, and felony tampering with witnesses and information; the sentence hearing is set for July 11, 2023.

“This was a very tragic death of a blameless child. These cases are not easy, and our hard-working prosecutors are one step closer to achieving justice for Alex’s family,” Attorney General Knudsen said. 

“I look forward to the sentencing and expect the judge will impose the life sentence we requested in the plea deal. My office will continue to hold criminals accountable in this state.”

Last year, Sasser was sentenced to 100 years for deliberate homicide, felony child endangerment, and felony tampering with a witness for his role in Hurley’s death. 

Batts’ son has also been sentenced and other family members have been charged in connection with Hurley’s death. 

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