NewsCrime and Courts


Patricia Batts sentenced for the murder of her 12-year-old grandson, Alex Hurley, in West Yellowstone

Batts sentenced to life in prison for deliberate homicide
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Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-22 18:56:28-04

BOZEMAN — The West Yellowstone woman who pleaded guilty, along with other family members, in the murder of 12-year-old James Alexander "Alex" Hurley, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.

Patricia Batts pleaded guilty in May to deliberate homicide in the case of Alex Hurley, who was found dead in his grandparents' home in February 2020.

Batts is the last defendant to be sentenced in the case after James Sasser, Jr., Alex's grandfather, was sentenced to 100 years in prison for deliberate homicide in March of last year.

James Sasser III, Alex's 15-year-old uncle, was accused of causing the injuries that likely led to Alex's death and accepted a plea deal in October 2020.

The Gallatin County Attorney's Office decided in January of this year not to pursue the death penalty in Batts' case, meaning life in prison was the maximum sentence she could receive.

At Batts' sentencing hearing on Tuesday, family members including Alex's mother and his two teenage siblings gave victim impact statements. Batts reportedly became very emotional as the family members gave their statements.

MTN's Jane McDonald spoke with West Yellowstone Police Chief Mike Gavagan ahead of Batt's sentencing, who talked about the impact the case had on both law enforcement and the community of West Yellowstone. Watch the interview here or in the media wheel above:

Police chief reflects on Alex Hurley's murder as Batts sentencing looms

Batts additionally received two 10-year sentences for criminal child endangerment and tampering with witnesses.

She will serve her sentence at the Montana State Prison.