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.
Gallatin County District Court was filled with blue on Tuesday in honor of Alex Hurley as his family read victim impact statements directed at Batts.
“You said he will be safe, so I trusted, you know—I [expletive] trusted you Trish,” said Alex's aunt Joanna Marks.
Three years after Alex's horrific death, many of his family are still left wondering why he was murdered.
“How could you sit back and watch as well as have such a huge hand in your own grandson’s life being tortured and taken at such a young age,” asked another family member in her statement.
Batts appeared to get emotional as she listened to her family.
“I regret not being the grandmother Alex should’ve had,” Batts said In a statement.
Alex’s mom didn’t have much to say in court when she took the stand and declined to read her statements to Batts publicly.
“I just hope she gets what she gets,” said Alicia Davis.
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:
Batts additionally received two 10-year sentences for criminal child endangerment and tampering with witnesses.
She will serve her time at the Montana Women's Prison.