A court hearing has been set to determine whether or not James Sasser III, the 14-year-old uncle of James Alexander “Alex” Hurley who stands accused of participating in the 12-year-old’s murder by abuse, will be tried as an adult.
I discussed in my original article my reason for disagreeing with the idea of trying any juvenile as an adult, even in a crime as severe as this one, but the decision is up to the judge, so we will have to wait and see what happens on March 5 when James III appears in front of District Judge John Brown.
Alex’s grandmother, Patricia Batts, her husband, James Sasser Jr., and the couple’s son, James III, as well as a family friend, Gage Roush, all face charges in connection with Alex’s death.
It’s worth mentioning that while I read through the six hundred plus comments on the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office post about the initial arrests in Alex’s case, I noticed that several comments appear to have been deleted, though it’s impossible to tell whether they were removed by the person who wrote them or the page administrator. The conversation around these missing comments seems to point in the direction of whether or not Madison Sasser, the 18-year-old aunt who also lived in the home with the accused and the victim, has been arrested. One comment indicated that Brenda Reed, Gage Roush’s grandmother, had commented in an earlier thread that Madison has indeed been arrested, but Brenda’s comment and any subsequent replies have all mysteriously vanished. This appears to be in line with Sheriff Gootkin’s lack of response to my email inquiry earlier this week and the assertion in the original post that the Sheriff “can only comment on the information covered in the Affidavit of Probable cause, which is public information.”
Madison’s name does not appear on an inmate roster at the Gallatin County Detention Center’s website.
Also worth mentioning is that the incident that robbed Alex’s father, Tommy Tate, of his ability to walk and, later, both his legs and then his life, was likely an ATV accident.
In even darker news, charges filed this week in Gallatin County District Court reveal more disgusting details about Alex’s last days, and oh my God, you guys. What these monsters “allegedly” put this little boy through defies human logic.
According to prosecutors, James III lied when he told investigators that he awoke on the night of January 27 to find Alex standing over Patricia with a knife. James III has evidently since admitted that was a lie. He also admitted to hitting Alex with his trusty wooden paddle, its handle wrapped in blue tape, if Alex refused to do jumping jacks and squats as directed. James III told police that Alex was always misbehaving, that the little boy had “messed up their family,” and that they wanted to “get rid” of him or send him to a hospital.
What the fuck, you guys? I would love to know the reason Patricia and James Jr. wouldn’t let Alex even speak with his mother, let alone go back to Texas to live with her. Did they want a scapegoat around the house to beat on when the urge struck them? Why didn’t they seek psychological treatment for Alex if his behavior was as out of control as they claimed?
James III also told investigators that Alex used to have a bedroom of his own, but it was later converted into a video game room, forcing Alex to sleep on the living room floor. In the last two months of Alex’s life, he was forced “to stay between the couch and the wall/window” in the living room, which was supported by several videos found on the family’s cell phones.
Even more shocking is James III’s admission that he and his mother, Patricia, would take turns duct taping Alex to themselves to prevent him from running away. He said they used Saran wrap on their own skin before applying the duct tape to avoid injury to themselves, but they did not give Alex the same courtesy.
According to court documents, James III told them that on the morning of February 1, after Alex escaped from behind the couch and Patricia blew up at him, he and Alex had a “pretty bad fight,” wrestling and throwing punches, which left Alex crying. After the fight, Patricia noticed that Alex “started acting weird” and accused him of drinking alcohol.
On February 2, Super Bowl Sunday, the rest of the family ate dinner while watching the game but forced Alex to stand by the garage door, denying him food, which they had taken to doing over the previous couple of months. James III admitted hitting Alex with the wooden paddle when he stepped away from his assigned post by the door and said that the paddle broke, though he claimed it was not from hitting Alex.
Madison told investigators that she saw a fight start on either the night of February 1 or the morning of February 2. She said that while her 14-year-old brother and her 12-year-old nephew were being duct-taped together, James III accidentally touched a heater, which set him off. He ended up kicking and punching Alex about five times in the head after the duct tape was removed, and he shoved Alex’s head into the wall, causing the head-shaped dent in the drywall that police noticed during their initial search of the house.
Madison admitted that Patricia and James Sr. witnessed the fight, after which Alex showed signs of disorientation and memory loss. Since Madison had experienced similar symptoms after a car accident, she and James III administered rudimentary concussion tests on Alex. Charging documents indicate that Madison believes that her 14-year-old brother killed Alex.
The reason the family didn’t obtain medical or psychological help for Alex, Madison told police, was because her father was worried that if anyone found out how the family treated Alex, her 6-year-old brother would be taken away from them.
Un-fucking-believable. I have to end this post here, because I’m blinded with rage.
Click here to read my ongoing coverage of Alex’s case.
Sources: KPVI, Facebook