Gage Roush, the 18-year-old family friend of the Sasser family who is accused of contributing to the ongoing abuse of 12-year-old Alex Hurley, has been denied lower bail.
Gage appeared in Gallatin County (Montana) District Court on March 31 in front of Judge Holly Brown, requesting a lower bail so he could return to his grandmother’s home in West Yellowstone, which is where Alex was murdered in February of this year. Gage evidently wanted to go back to work, either at a local snowmobile shop or somewhere else away from the public.
Charged in Alex’s murder are his grandmother, 48-year-old Patricia Batts; his grandfather, 47-year-old James Sasser Jr.; his aunt, 18-year-old Madison Sasser; and his uncle, 14-year-old James Sasser III.
Gage is charged with felony assault on a minor after video recordings were found on the Sasser family phones of Gage yelling at Alex and hitting him with a bat on January 10. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Nathaniel Webb testified at the March 31 hearing that Alex is heard on the tape crying, talking about committing suicide, and screaming, “I hate this!”
Currently, Gage’s bail is set at $50,000. Gage’s attorney requested it be lowered based on the fact that he has no criminal history or record of violence. His attorney said Gage is not a flight risk and would be willing to wear an ankle monitor and sign a waiver of extradition.
Brenda Reed, Gage’s grandmother, was called as a witness at the hearing.
Judge Brown denied Gage’s lowered bail request, citing threats made against the defendant by both out-of-state individuals and residents of West Yellowstone.
“The community of West Yellowstone is notably small, and people are very aware of who is there and where they are and what they’re doing,” the judge said. “There are concerns related to our community reaction that could put Mr. Roush at risk, and it certainly could put other community members at risk.”
She also cited the severity of Gage’s charge as a reason for her decision.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Alex’s case.