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Episode 24: The James Alex Hurley Case

The Story of James Alex Hurley: A Homeschool Homicide and Torture Case

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James “Alex” Hurley

Episode Summary

In this week’s true crime podcast episode, Kelley Richey and Julia Avery discuss the tragic events that led to the heartless murder of 12 year old James “Alex” Hurley on 04 February 2020. Two years leading up to Alex’s murder, he suffered beatings, systemic torture in many forms, starvation, and constant violent and de-humanization at the hands of his Grandmother, 14 year old uncle, step-grandfather, aunt, and family friend. Neighbors were also witness to abuse and never said or reported anything. Realizing that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to hide the abuse from the teachers and officials at Alex’s school, his Grandmother pulled him out under the guise of “Homeschooling.”

The more one dwells on this case, the worse it gets. Even for seasoned law enforcement, this case was shocking and horrifying. As stated by Gallatin County Sheriff, Brian Gootkin, “In his 27 years in law enforcement, he’s never seen a case like this.” “It’s personal,” he says. “It’s personal to all of us, I mean it’s the worst type of case that you can deal with and I guess  – you know, you just try and find some justice for Alex and that’s exactly what our job is.”

Episode Transcript

Julia Avery 0:02
Welcome back to The Family Ties podcast. Thank you for watching us and joining us again, we’d love it. Today you have myself Julia Avery and my sister and amazing co host, Kelly. Hi, guys. Hi, it’s Kelly here. We are still here still kickin it. And COVID has not taken any either one of us yet.

Now I’m sick right now, I purposely put on makeup to not look sick. But I’ll tell you I’m sick. And it’s not COVID I got tested. And I got a rapid test. So it was negative. So

Kelley Richey 0:42
nice congratulate to go. Well, I am just trying to be extra precautious because now we have three people. I raise four fingers. We have

three.

Julia Avery 0:59
Jeez, Louise.

Kelley Richey 1:02
Hey, we have people that have come down with COVID in the office. So as of this past Friday, there was a third person so I have been tested once already, but I’m just going to be extra extra

precautious

and I apologize guys, my dogs are wrestling on the bed right now. And I’m sure you could hear it that all the jingling of the collars and stuff. How are you other than being sick too late? I’m okay, well, I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. I’ve been napping a lot of the day I been waking up early. From the same time every day. I made a big breakfast this morning. I made chocolate chip muffins. really fluffy scrambled eggs with Gouda cheese. And I did some brown sugar covered bacon.

Julia Avery 1:56
It could have been better.

Kelley Richey 2:00
And I’m gonna plug in my headphones guys, because I think it might help block out the dog goes Hold on. You guys will probably hear Kendrick she’s purring and she’ll be walking back and forth. You’ll probably see her tail drift in the screen make an appearance. But she’s you. So this might help muffle a little bit of this. They’re they’re having a good time. And that’s all that matters. But what do we what are we going to talk about today, Julia? So today we are going to be discussing the case of James Alex Hurley. This is where you know, as we’ve talked about last time, we’re starting to do more cases that are focused on tragic incidents that have happened to these innocent children that we’re trying to create exposure for and hopefully lead into making change legislation, legislation type of change where we can actually make a difference and start preventing these cases from being as often and as reoccurring as they currently are. This case is especially sensitive. So fair warning, if you’re very sensitive to this kind of stuff, just so you know. It’s got some really horrific details in it. And it was really rough for both Kelly and I to get through. James Alex Hurley this story it really was another difficult one to get through. I they’re all going to be difficult but this in particular has just been weighing very heavily on my heart but

on February 4 of this year, the lifeless body of 12 year old James Alex Hurley was recovered by law enforcement to be taken in for an autopsy. The details that unfolded once this case started to be investigated, shocked and appalled law enforcement. k u LR eight news reports that Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Goodkin said that in his 27 years in law enforcement. He’s never seen a case like this. It’s personal. He says it’s personal to all of us. He says, I mean, it’s the worst type of case that you can deal with. And I guess, you know, you just try and find some justice for Alex. And that’s exactly what our job is. So he also kind of let them know that counselors had been sent from across the county to West Yellowstone in the school, the boy attended. So they’re the counselors are also supporting the law enforcement members who are part of this case. That’s how upsetting this has been. So just keep that in mind. I mean, cops, they have to see this stuff. And I’m sure you know, even if they have to try and approach it. As emotionless as they can, it still affects them deeply. And they because they other also have kids

of their own or You know, have nieces and nephews and, you know, have friends who have kids and seeing this stuff to other kids really hits home really hard. Yeah. I think so. Personal. Yeah. I mean, so I was just reading this is upsetting. I can’t imagine being somebody who had to investigate this. So keep keep that in your back pocket. I know that we’ve, we’ve been tough on cops in the past, but they’re their job is by no means easy. And, in fact, we’ve already discussed that they wear too many hats. Like they’re stretched. I mean, you’re bound to have I mean, so regardless of what we’ve said negatively the past they’re also extremely overworked. And yeah, overstretched in areas that they’re not specialized in or specialized to handle or equipped to handle even emotionally.

Yes. So with that being said, we’re going to tell you the tragic story of the events that led up to the murder of James, Alex Hurley, who I believe they just kind of call him Alex. So we’ll we’ll just call him Alex going forward. Or maybe we’ll go interchange between the names, which is you know, as it looks like Alex’s his primary name, but um, that led up to the murder of Alex, but also dive into the pattern of torture and abuse that spanned the last two years of this little boy’s life. This abuse ranges from beatings, systemic torture, in many forms, starvation and constant violence and dehumanization by all four of the family members he was living with at the end of his life. So

strap in. Yeah. So something that is a common thread with like, the story that we discussed last week is that the family members who are responsible for like the guardians for the child, from the get go came up with excuses for the kids behavior to almost justify any adverse reactions or anything that would come up later. Like, for instance, last week, they were saying that the child was self mutilating at age one and two, but that set their framework for what they thought was a good excuse, anytime, choose bruises, or marks or whatever. Same thing. And like this case, the family members were saying Alex was troubled, you know that he was suicidal, that they, you know, he had been on suicide watch that he was acting out all of these things. And it doesn’t line up with what school officials or his teachers had to say about his behavior when he was at school. And that type of behavior isn’t like, doesn’t switch on and off, it’s usually pretty consistent. So it’s another red flag as to they’re setting up their excuses to try to justify anything that would end up coming up and happening with Alex. Yes.

So in the events that led up to this, I’m gonna just kind of, we’re gonna start it. We’re clearly starting at the end, where, you know, he’s been killed. But the event I think that was the catalyst to all of this happening, was them pulling him from school. So let’s just keep in mind that this is a recurring theme. Also, in all of these cases, that it’s not necessarily that these parents have been homeschooling the whole time, and that it’s for religious reasons. Oftentimes, this is used as a way to cover up their their actions or their abuse. Certainly, that’s just the ice

Yeah, to isolate the children. So because like we also talked about last week, school officials are obligated to contact Child Services, social services, when things they observe seeing kind of out of the norm, or concerning. So when you take them out of that environment, there’s no one to report you. Except maybe your neighbors, but usually they don’t because they like to mind their own business. It seems like in this case. All right, a little background that we we found is that Alicia Davis is his mother,

Alex’s mother. They had lived in Cleveland until he was about 10 years old. And then after that, he went to live in Montana with his father. So basically, Alex went to live with his father before his dad passed away in 2018. But his grandparents ended up keeping him in their custody after that. So the the events that were leading up to this is that his mom, which Hopefully we can get in touch with and kind of get her side of the story. But the way I’m understanding this is that due to some financial reasons, you know, she just thought it was best if she had Alex go live with his father in Montana. And, you know, at some point, I believe it was 2013 that his dad ended up getting into an ATV accident. And he was pretty badly injured, and then he was left paralyzed. So he, his father then eventually died from a,

Julia Avery 10:39
an infection.

Kelley Richey 10:41
So his father, Tate will just call them Tate was paralyzed in an ATV accident in 2013. And then he died in January 2018 after developing an infection, which made his heart give out. So I don’t know how that affected this poor boy, but things are already off to a bad start. So after that, he ended up going to live with

his grandparents from his his dad’s side, because they also lived in Montana. And so the grandma is Patricia bats. And then there was James sasser, Jr, who I guess is Patricia’s then husband. And then there was also James sasser the third, who was at the time 14 years old. And then I believe there was a six year old kid there as well, one of sasser his little brothers, as well as the older sister, which is the aunt. So what we have here is we have the grandma Patricia bats, the Grandpa, sort of James sasser, Jr. Then you have James sasser the third, which is the 14 year old boy, which is James Alex’s uncle. And then James Alex’s aunt, who I don’t remember her name, she was also living in the household as well as

Sasser, his younger brother, who doesn’t really have a lot to do with the story, but he lives there. And according to all of the testimony, and all of the evidence, all of them, except for the six year old, had some hand in abusing this kid torturing this kid verbally, physically abusing all of those things, they there was no adult in the room to stop call it this behavior or to seek outside assistance for issues that they were claiming was happening like there’s everybody was, was guilty, equally involved in this situation.

They’re all guilty in some way, shape, or form in the abuse and torture that made up the last two years of this kid’s life. But specifically, the 14 year old uncle is pretty much primarily responsible for the murder

of this boy, the physical aspect, Alex? Yes. So I mean, it’s it’s hard to say who’s most at fault here, because they’re all so just guilty. I definitely hold Patricia bats and sasser Jr. accountable the most because they were the adults, they should have taken Sastre the third, the 14 year old to get help for his violence. And they should have sought out assistance, medical assistance for what we’re going to end up discussing is add for Alex.

Yeah. So Alex has ADHD. And we’re going to go ahead and preface all of this by saying that, you know, it was clear that he had some behavioral issues. They weren’t necessarily violent in nature, but they they’re common symptoms of ADHD. And his teacher ended up you know, saying that, right before they had pulled him out of school. He had actually been improving his you know, with his his ADHD he was getting better, not worse. And the family made a claim. The grandma made a claim that the boy they pulled the boy out of school because he

touched a girl and appropriately and there are no there’s no evidence or not valid claims to to that statement so back that up

that to build on this, the grandma, uncles etc claim the boy was troubled he was hearing voices he was suicidal. And but the detective who is in charge his case states that even with these claims of James Alex and his alleged behavioral issues, he was not able to locate any record of the family reporting the claimed behavior to law enforcement or the family attempting to get medical or psychiatric help for Hurley. So all of this is unsubstantiated. There’s no way to prove it. The only thing that everybody can agree on is the fact that the kid had severe ADHD, which is treatable. And it’s, it’s definitely not something that makes this kid unlovable.

Exactly. So, and it explains a lot of behavioral issues. And if they have such a problem with it, there are ways to treat it there are you have to seek professionals and when you don’t, then it’s your fault that he’s continuing to be troubled. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, what is also really obvious about this is that the grandma, Patricia Batts has a lot of

she has a history of violence, we will say she has a history of abuse. I don’t know if all the kids in that household or even even James, Alex’s dad, if his dad experienced abuse, you know, these are questions that I have. But apparently, you know, this kid wasn’t the first to be abused. And it seems like she raised these other kids to who not only be violent, but also to take pleasure in hurting and abusing someone and denominates

Julia Avery 16:45
off is learned, I believe a majority of that stuff is learned.

Kelley Richey 16:51
So the so Sasser, the third may have been the one to kill him. But it was very encouraged. And there is video evidence that shows that all the family took pleasure in this and they enjoyed it so much that they they made videos of it on their cell phones. Why else? I mean, it’s not just this boy picking on this kid when no one’s looking. It is it’s a family affair.

It’s a group. It’s a family affair. Yeah, it’s a group effort. Everyone. That’s why I really hold everyone involved. Yeah, I’m accountable for this. So it’s clear through texts and different different quotes that Sasa the third hated this kid and he took pleasure in beating him and and abusing him. But they would make these wild claims. And one of the claims was that James Alex had run into the corner of the entertainment center causing an injuries to his head and having a gash that gret bled greatly. Bats, Patricia bats, sasser and the uncle stated that due to the boy’s erratic behavior, they had to constantly watch his every move, including someone staying up at night to make sure he was not going to harm himself or someone else. See, that’s unnecessary, that you’re having to do that you should have gone if that was true, they should have gotten help for his suicidal behavior. And the fact that they didn’t shows that they’re not they weren’t concerned about him. Because you can trust yourself to stay up, have someone stay up all night to watch make sure that doesn’t happen. You know, if you’re truly concerned about someone’s well being, you’re going to seek help. You’re not just going to be like, No, well, I’ll have Sasa Jr. Stay up and watch him tonight or whatever. It’s like, it’s like you take third watch. It’s like, it isn’t

the night watching Game of Thrones, like, if it was that bad. Yeah. Which it wasn’t, you know, there, there would be some records indicating that and the boy probably wouldn’t have been able to have done anything normal at school. If this and he wouldn’t be improving at schools. If this was the case, if he was just that much of a loose cannon. More people would know about this, which is why, you know, they pulled him from school to where they could perpetuate these stories. And another nonsense story that they perpetrated before February 4, we say yes, before February 4, when the boy died as a like a precursor excuse to Well, you know what they were dealing with?

Julia Avery 19:41
They’re trying to set up the stage for this like, violent, violent, outlandish kid,

Kelley Richey 19:47
but just listen to this end and tell me if it makes sense. So all three of them stated that honor about January 27 of this year, the 14 year old uncle’s I woke up during the night and saw James Alex standing over the grandma with a knife. So he tackled the boy and punched him several times on his body and in the head. The detective noted in court documents that the boy James Alex was about 103 pounds and five, three, while the 14 year old uncle sasser was approximately approximately 300 pounds and six feet

tall.

That’s a big ass kid.

Julia Avery 20:31
That’s a big boy. That’s a big

Kelley Richey 20:34
Why are they scared of this little kid when they’ve got this big Bulldog to take care of them? It’s, it’s got to be complex. Oh my god.

Julia Avery 20:44
So what?

Kelley Richey 20:47
Questions for me though? Real quick, like, Yeah, what are the sleeping arrangements? How to see how do you wake up in the middle of the night and just go? Where’s grandma? Let me go see where grandma’s sleeping and then find him standing over the bed. Like, how? How did that come about? If If that’s true, what are the what were the sleeping arrangement? How close was everybody? And you know what to be the odds of him catching the odds of him catching him in the act like that? They have to be that was perfect timing like, wow, I know. Um, but to be fair, I wouldn’t blame Alex if if he was contemplating just taking care of himself because nobody else is going to I’m not saying that I believe that claim cuz I don’t. I’m just saying. In all fairness, I think he he was kind of justified for acting out, protecting himself if you will.

And the way the reason we’re telling this out of order is I’ve read a lot of different news articles and stuff about this case, but it’s important to set the scene for you. Because we can’t just start with the story. And then you you’ll be in complete confusion because none of it makes any sense in in the realm of how the family tells this story. So I want to make sure that we’re kind of setting this up, maybe we’ll set something up and then we’ll go back in time, a little bit and then we’ll go ahead because I think all these things will help you guys figure out as we go along the in consistencies with the story that they’re telling the detectives in the police. And and you know what actually happened? So, Julia, what did they find what did the autopsy show?

So during a search of the bats house, detectives observed an indentation in the wall that was consistent with a head being hit into the wall with a trace amount of blood. Later, after a more thorough search, the detectives located forensic evidence that indicated the very large amounts of blood had been previously cleaned from the floor and various other surfaces. during interviews, each member of the family denied a large amount of blood ever existing in the house. Hmm, so interesting. So now let’s visit the night of the killing.

So Sasser the third, the 14 year old uncle was interviewed by detectives and said multiple altercations took place between him and the boy, the last one occurring on Saturday, February 1 2020. around midday, he denied hitting the boy in the head with the paddle. And then they had a fight on January 27 2020. That was even worse.

So here interesting thing real quick. And there’s no evidence of them taking Alex to the hospital in between all of these incidents where he’s probably getting head damage and brain damage, probably having concussions, probably getting more injuries leading up to the final day. So just keep that in mind as well. So all these things they’re not they’re not giving him any medical attention. And he’s a child. Yeah. So Madison sasser, who’s the 18 year old aunt, I think she’s 18 and she told detectives that she watched the Super Bowl on February 2 with friends in West Yellowstone, and everyone was asleep. When she arrived home that evening, she reported that Hurley was asleep on the floor of the living room.

Totally normal, and that the grandmother was asleep on the couch. So Madison told the detective that her knowledge no altercations occurred after she arrived home but also that she had texted friends saying that she believed her brother. Sasa the third had killed her early. So you’re those two things are conflicting, you say you want very

Julia Avery 25:09
conflicting and

Kelley Richey 25:10
there’s a kid, he’s sleeping on the floor. And, you know, with what happens next and knowing how long this happened and how the boy was what was happening all night long, she would have known that at the time she got home, he was still alive. Think about it for a second. And I, I don’t believe for a second. So, you know, she thinks that he’s dead. But then she also says that he was sleeping on the floor. Those two things obviously don’t add up. That’s That’s her trying to disassociate herself from any guilt or involvement by telling the police she believed he was sleeping. But then, you know, as you’re like spilling out more details, you tend to give yourself away and then the fact that she indicates she texted other concerns that are I mean, to text a friend and be like, pretty sure. My family members dead. Like that’s extreme like, so you can’t go from thinking that they’re asleep to them thinking that they’ve been murdered without being implicated somehow. And so that was her guilt. That was that was extra details coming out of there. I don’t think she meant to say that I really don’t. Because I think she was trying to set it really like I think it was asleep that I texted then I texted my friends like yeah, maybe sad, huh? So being all of

these stories, Juliet from all the family members indicate at some level that they they’re aware of exactly what happened. Yeah, so sacer Jr, the grandpa figure so the one who’s with Patricia bats. He reported that he had been sleeping during the Superbowl, but stated that his son Sasa the third and Hurley had gotten into an altercation. So this altercation guys is the altercation that resulted in his death. So don’t forget that. And it was so bad and yet they didn’t do anything. He reported that he woke on the morning of February the third Monday and was on his way to work when he learned from bats at the boy’s death. And I have Juliet Do not let me forget to circle back around to that because I have a theory. I have a theory on that.

So then, what does what does granny bat say? What is lovely granny bats have to say for herself. So she told the detectives that she had been sleeping during parts of the Superbowl. But a woke when she heard sasser the third and Alex fighting and she woke to sasser the third striking Alex with the paddle. But she denied that Alex was hitting the head. So she kind of tried to like minimize the fight during the Superbowl saying that they had a significant fight on January 27. Were Sastre the third had beat Alex stating that the fight was a bad fight and it was a bloodbath. And so that was in her words. And I mean for her to say it’s a bloodbath. I can’t even imagine how horrific it had to have been. Because they’ve tried to downplay everything. And for her to say it was a bloodbath.

How many times have they cleaned up blood from inside of this house? Maybe they’d have blood, Alex’s blood? Yes. So she also reported that Alex slept on the floor the living room the night of February 2, and was mumbling and moaning throughout the night. She reported finding Alex’s body on the morning of February 3 and that he was deceased. She reportedly called 911 a pound finding the body. So this Julia is where I’m circling back. I’m circling back to the fact that she already knew. You know, she heard the altercation she was there when it took place. The boy is on the floor in the living room. According to police investigators in a pool of blood, you’re not going to think he’s just chilling out on the floor. She laid there on the couch all night, hearing him moan and die in his own blood on the floor. And you know what, why this also circles back to what the grandpa says is that, you know, he also knew about this altercation he heard it himself as well. And, you know, they allowed him to die slowly, all night. They knew that He was going to die. They were just waiting it out. So the uncle of course, you know, yet on Monday morning as he’s gotten to work, she’s like, Yeah, he’s finally dead. That’s exactly how this happened. Yeah, we all knew

he knew exactly what happened. Because, you know, I’m sure he had to walk to the living room at some point to exit the house. You know? I’m Jerry can’t step in that plug. I get that blood on your shoes. We step over the body. I’m sure you probably was like, yeah, I’m still breathing. You just let me know when it’s over. Yeah, that’s impressive. Why to what? And guys, this is a 12 year old boy. He smiled a child. And don’t forget the six year old in the house. He also observed you all of this. hearing everything. Probably walking in and out of the living room himself. Yeah, what was his testimony? And where is he now? I hope he’s not with another family member. Because it seems to be a family issue. It’s all of them. It’s like you know, so I answered for him too. Yeah, um, not only for his well being but for how he’s gonna be treating people when he gets older because to have seen all of that go down and I know there’s there’s not there was not one second that they probably had him exit the room for them to do something he witnessed

it all Well, remember Julia in one of the videos that we’re going to tell people about he has seen walking in and out of the frame like totally oblivious to the torture that is happening right in front of him. Because so sees it all the time. It’s nothing like this is this is just what goes on.

This is life

around. Yeah, this is you know, maybe he’s thinking I’m glad it’s him and not me. Um, so all this to say guys is that Madison arriving home had she had to have seen the blood and potentially the not dead yet. James Alex on the floor, but she did nothing. She could have been like, Hey, man, you okay?

Nothing. Just be like, Oh, he’s there just to just observing you know, not giving a shit. I want to know from Patricia. What was more entertaining the Superbowl or listening and watching this kid die. her grandson? Her. Yeah. We we keep talking about him as like the kid. He is her grandson. her grandson was moaning in pain as he was dying slowly feet away from her while she watched football or and took a nap in well, because she’s tired. All of the above. It’s been a busy day. I always got to put her feet up grandma’s tired bitches know like, I mean, how detached how how absolutely detached. She is emotionally like that is just crazy detached. It brings her pleasure because of other things that we find out about her. So I guarantee you this has been a pattern over her life. But like we’ve talked about before Also, these things are a pattern that gets passed down, just like genetic x from one generation to the other. So what’s next Shelia? The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office ended up arresting James sasser Jr, the grandfather, Patricia bats, the grandma and the juvenile boy James sasser, the third was 14. And he was the uncle of Alex. So they were all arrested for the events of deliberate homicide in found guilty. The deputy ended up finding circumstances surrounding Alex’s death suspicious, and he requested assistance from the detective division. After he observed that Alex had multiple moons and contusions all over his body. Investigators ended up finding videos of Alex 12 being tortured by members of his family before his death, which Kelly kind of brought up before. There are videos of that. So these videos include, like one that was found from December 12 of last year shows it was on Patricia’s phone guys, let’s also honor her calling her grandma. Just add to how fucked up this whole situation is. Grandma had videos of her grandson being tortured by her son and we’ll get into that but she she said about him to others but

They seized all of their cell phones and found a lot of evidence on all of them. But this particular video on December 12 on grandma’s phone shows the boy doing forced jumping jacks while holding his buttock area, crying and saying he had to go to the bathroom.

Julia Avery 35:19
Patricia.

Kelley Richey 35:20
Granny reportedly can be heard in the video mocking him. Then on January 10, of 2020 of this year, a video on Granny’s phone shows James Alex standing near the garage door bent over holding his head in his hands, rocking back and forth saying no and moaning another video timestamped two minutes later shows the boy crying and saying out It hurts so bad. several videos show the boy being forced to sit against a wall or door to the garage in a squat position. Several other videos show the baiting forces you jumping jacks as punishment. On January 10 of this year, a video on sasser the third, the 14 year olds phone shows the Alex sitting against the door to the garage crying, I fucking hate this. A larger mail can be seen on the video hitting the boy with a piece of wood. The boy is heard screaming about committing suicide. So this person who is hitting him with the wood is also charged in this later he’s a friend of Sasa the third This is gage. He He’s 18. And also large, very large boy.

So I mean, now we have video evidence of this. So they’re not an island. They’re also dumb. And their evidence so they’re all enjoying it so much that they’re inviting friends into this as not just so you know, could have started with Granny, but then granny brought in. The only person I don’t know of specifically being physically abusive sacer Jr. But he allowed all this to happen under his roof. Yeah. Well, I’m sure I’m sure. Patricia was overbearing enough with him because it seems like this is a this is hard. This is her deal. And you know how they’re men men get real weak. Yeah, yeah. And when they’re around. I mean, bull in our household. Yeah, I don’t know what I’m saying is sounding really bad. But um, I mean, she was probably guilty of domestic violence. You probably talked down to him and he was, you know, he was probably just Oh, yeah.

I don’t know. I guarantee you her abuse was directed every member of her family to some worse than others. But on January 17 of this year of video on Granny’s phone shows, Alex has cuts on his face and wrist again on grandma’s phone shows the boy against the front wall of the house pinned between the wall and the couch, with his arms in the air above his head. So he reportedly does not have a shirt on and has red marks and injuries to shoulder But listen, Julie, just put your hands above your head for a minute. Just hold them there this whole episode. Don’t Don’t put them down. Okay, or else I’m gonna beat beat the shit out of you. That’s exactly what’s happening here. The boy can repeatedly reportedly be seen starting to fall asleep, resting his head against the window trim. Grandma can be heard saying wake up, get your fucking head off there. So

this is like just imagine. And just to think about this real quick, too. This is all after his father’s died. And he’s a child dealing with his father’s death and probably missing his mom. Mm hmm.

So and he’s been there so long, that he’s trying to try to prop himself up, but he’s exhausted. Like, I challenge anyone out there to try this for themselves and see how long they can make it. And if you make it to the point where you can’t even help but fall asleep. You know that you’ve been doing this for hours or even a full day. Okay, so in another video, grandma can be heard telling the boy to keep his hands apart and open in the air. Alex is crying and visibly shaking saying that he hurts and his head hurts his head because they beat the shit out of his head all the time. And grandma can be heard reportedly saying who cares? On January 27, a video also on Granny’s phone, like how much storage does granny have. And how much has she actually deleted from their shows the shows Alex wearing underwear only wearing underwear being forced to stand in front of fans in the dining room. Throughout the video, grandmas heard berating the boy, while the little six year old uncle is seen acting, acting as if it were a normal occurrence.

It’s like what did I get it not only with a fans, but there was a statement where she had said she was spraying him with water while he was in front of the fans bear. And she was like, that’s what you do with cats that act up, right? Like, what what? I mean, no, no, I don’t do that to my cats. And but you’re not dealing with the cat and not an animal. It’s a human.

A human being.

And, and the fact that the this uncle thinks that this is normal. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that you do to prisoners of war. Like, I bet you she did this shit to Sasser the third. And as he got to be a bigger boy, and this new kid got in the house. And the fact that also it’s not her child. So she’s, you know, there’s that detachment, in addition to, you know, the violence that’s already going on. I bet you he was the I mean, he was trained for that. And he was probably bullied just as much and it abused just as much and what do people usually do with their abuse? And a lot of cases, you, you turn the tables around, so you have the power in your hands?

Yes. And if we’re going to make references to animals here, just imagine somebody beating their dog making them brutal and mean and then fighting them against another dog. You know, it’s like, you beat you beat anger, hate and violence into somebody and it’s gonna trickle to someone else. Yeah, but um, yeah, another video from January 17 of this year, on sasses. Sasa the third’s phone shows Alex standing in front of the fan in his underwear and grandma can allegedly be heard telling him, oh, you’re not even a human, you’re some kind of thing.

Julia Avery 42:24
So

Kelley Richey 42:27
when detectives located videos of Alex from two years ago, so like right around the time he started living with with Grandma,

Alex looks to be healthy and well fed. And then at the time of his death, detectives observed that Hurley appear to be a Muay ciated and that a good portion of the food in the house was locked away and the boy would not have access to it. So one more thing

on January 17. So, okay, January 17. He died on this February 3. So on 17th, Sasa third texted, texted the grandpa at 807 in the morning, I’m gonna end up killing him today.

I feel like this is important to mention. And I also feel like it’s important to mention that. So there’s also premeditation here. And so then you’re also leading up to this on January 27. Sasa the third he searched for what was the longest coma? And then on the second, so the day before he ended up killing Alex, he searched for what are the symptoms of brain injury, concussion symptoms? And how do you tell if someone has a question? So

Julia Avery 43:59
yeah, Do you ever feel as he read these just absolutely depressed and enraged at the same time? Yes. Like, I just want to fall apart into a puddle onto the floor. But at the same time, I

want to exact

Kelley Richey 44:26
revenge.

That fits very nicely. So the next bit of what we’re talking about is going to fit very nicely in with what Julia was saying about how this makes you feel and how enraged This makes you feel. And I am I struggle with the whole concept of the death penalty. I really truly do. I generally gets it’s a bad idea and I don’t like it. But there are very rare circumstances. In which I believe that it is the right

option.

And this may be one of them. Yeah. So, Patricia, the grandmother, who’s charged in the death of her 12 year old grandson, she ended up telling investigators that her own children learned to beat and torture Alex by watching her. So new documents found the case filed, filed in the case revealed that statement and prosecutors have also said they may sake the death penalty for the grandmother, which I’m not gonna lie. That sounds pretty good to me. And there she was right there admitting what Julie and I had been fearing this whole time. You know, she was she taught them all of this. Yeah.

So so but the question is Julia, did they learn all this by watching her beat just him? Was this just on him?

That’s that’s at the point at which like, it could be maybe Sasa, the third never was beaten. Maybe he learned all this violence. And they directed all of their anger and hatred to this boy, Alex. So that is the question here, guys that we we don’t have the answer to know. The only evidence the only actual physical evidence that we have shows it only happening to Alex.

Julia Avery 46:38
He was like the pawn.

Kelley Richey 46:40
I’m inclined the punching bag,

Julia Avery 46:43
that this was all just

Kelley Richey 46:46
occurring to him.

I’m interested, I’m interested to hear from Alex’s mom, because I want to know, you know what his dad was like? And did he ever direct anger at her domestically? Why did they separate in the first place? I know, that’s really personal to ask. But I’m, I’m thinking, you know, that’s how his mom’s been? You know, it’s, she has to have been this way for a long time, though. That’s, I don’t think that they just watched and learned her do that, just to Alex, because it takes a long time to learn that kind of behavior. And it become that normal and you you really take it from there and go as seriously as they did as seriously hardcore. Like, she had to have to be his her own children. I’m just wondering, like, was his dad beaten? Did his bad dad take anything out? on his mom? Was his dad domestically violent? And when he died, you know, like,

I don’t know.

How much did the boy have to witness? You know, like, how this whole lifetime Yeah, over over his lifetime, to somehow for this to continue to happen. So anyways, what what’s granny charged with? So granny was charged with deliberate homicide, aggravated kidnapping, criminal child endangerment and strangulation of partner or family member. All felonies in the death of 12 year old James Alex Hurley. So what’s worse, the strangulation coming into play? Yeah, we haven’t gone in for every any evidence that talks about strangulation. So that does make me curious. It’s all been about beatings. Oh, I think I read something that does indicate that she was throttling. Alex. So yeah, yeah. I don’t remember which article I read it in. I want to get court documents. I want to see the evidence. Yeah, I want to see all of it. Yeah, I do. And this, this is something so recent guys, that we we may can talk about this again.

Because I mean, at the time that most of these were written, gauged, the 18 year old had not been implicated in this as well. But I mean, you know, this happened in February of this year. So things are still, you know, court cases are still being waged, and

trials and all of this stuff are still ongoing, so I wasn’t even here for a while. This does take a long time. So then we move on to the grandfather, James sasser Jr. He was charged with deliberate homicide and criminal child endangerment both, which are felonies. James Astor, the third Alex’s 14 year old uncle is charged with felony deliberate homicide. And then finally you’ve got gage rush. The 18 year old friend, who was charged with felony assault on a minor after prosecutor said he was seen on a video hitting the boy with a paddle. Prosecutors filed charging documents in the district court shortly after Sastre thirds hearing that revealed new details about the months before Alex’s death. those details included a neighbor’s claim that Patricia sasser the third and Alex’s 18 year old aunt, who has been very quiet throughout this whole thing, mm beat and dragged Alex back to their home on buffalo drive near hebgen Lake after Alex tried running away in December.

So okay, we’ve outlined January for you where all the videos of torture are kind of mainly focused. And then, you know, so in December, you know, he’s actively trying to run away. So, in the two years of his life, things are progressively getting more and more violent. Yeah. for him. Yep.

Seeing that, you know, this a, does a neighbor report this? No, it doesn’t seem like they do. The neighbors seem to have just witnessed it and been like, I guess, be like, Oh, yeah, we did see that thing. Remember back in December? Oh, yeah. They were beating the shit out of that kid, weren’t they? Yeah. Well, you didn’t, it is free neighbors. That has to be a normal occurrence for the neighbors not to say something as well, you know, because I’m sure they hear a bunch of stuff from the house. And they’re probably very just kind of desensitized to anything that comes from the other house. Yeah, to be able to just wave that off and be like, well, that’s unfortunate, I guess.

So I’m gonna circle back around to something you said Julia, about the cat thing. So grandma says she pulled Alex at a school in September of that year, to homeschool. So things have gotten to such a level guys, they were so bad that they’re like, well, we can’t keep having them go to school looking like this. You know, so they yank him out. And she claims that it was because he got in trouble for groping a girl According to documents, but that was also disproven because detectives and and the, the principal at the school denied that ever happening ever. So lies, lies, lies. Grandma’s struggled with the task, and said she would make Alex do jumping jacks and wall sets. If she caught him not doing his schoolwork. I guarantee you’re not sure. She’s not teaching the kids. So here’s here’s another instance of what really riles Julian Julian I about these cases, it’s like they yank kids out of school or they homeschool them and get they’re not being taught. They’re not being given an education. It’s just a cover. It’s a cover up for physical and emotional abuse. And, you know, they’re just doing their best to cover it up. And the fact that they’re using a form of kidnapping that yes, to me, is a form of kidnapping. Yeah, you think about it. So grandma told detectives that Alex drove her nuts and that his behavior got worse. But you know, she was unable to explain

how.

So, in addition, Graham is also saying that Alex always got out at night.

He’s trying to escape.

No wonder, maybe they did have a nightwatch because they didn’t want him to run away. It wasn’t a suicide watch. It was just because do they give a shit about it, anyway? No. I think maybe if they didn’t want him to commit suicide, it’s because they wanted to do it themselves. They’re like, no, you’re not you’re not gonna get away from this,

don’t you think? Yeah, get us. So grandma admitted to detectives that she allowed Sasa the third, to punish Alex when she wasn’t around, but said that she was unaware of the kind of punishment he was doing, although they all heard all the altercations and the videos of it.

And the bloodbath that happened in January, so they they’re all telling lies, they’re full of lies. They’re really terrible liars. So then, like they had all the time to try to get their story straight and they can’t they can’t even it’s because it’s been going on so long. They may be able to explain one week but they can’t explain the two years and then beat everybody on the same track with their stories. No, yeah. Much too much.

So in charging documents, they police find that Alex’s aunt met. So, Madison the the girl who came into the house and said he was sleeping on the floor, but then also said that she was pretty sure her brother killed him. She had messaged her boyfriend that Alex was like a piece of shit off my. Well, I don’t know what expletive she uses but a piece of blank off of my blank shoe, and that she wished wished Alex would die in the woods. The detective asked granny if Sasa the third and the aunt learned it was okay to discipline Alex from her, and granny replied, I guess. So here’s the crux of this issue guys. Grandma said Alex was entitled to $725 a month for

due to tait, the the father’s social social security benefits. So bad granny said the family use that money to help with bills. The only reason they are holding this kid hostage and I mean, holding this kid hostage is for that paycheck is Yeah, is for that man. It’s not even theirs. It’s not theirs. The kids not there’s none of it’s none of it’s legal.

So the grandfather, he admits, and maybe I verbally abused, Alex. And, you know, maybe I thought maybe he thought that Granny’s punishments for Alex were excessive.

His excuse for all of this, which I also think is bullshit. And I don’t believe he said he was trying to move out of the house and that his intention was to divorce Patricia and raise the kids without her. Sure. I think he fantasized about it because I do believe he was the domestic abuse victim. Do I think that he’s also responsible as an adult? For what happened to the children and not reporting anything? Yes. But I do believe that this was a domestic abuse situation. And it’s usually harder for people to grasp it and believe it when it’s a female against a male. Yeah, you know, and domestic abuse really fucks people up, folks reason and logic up, like, um, you know, what’s as simple as saying, Well, why didn’t you just get out of there? It’s not as simple like, they work into your brain like these, these people who are master manipulators. And you find yourself deeply entrenched in this relationship. And then you stay you stay and you know, you get you feel stuck. And then you feel powerless. And then you’ve got the kids that are starting to behave just like her now. It’s like Well, fuck, I’m not giving him an out on this at all. I’m just saying it’s good to be aware of. Of that, that aspect, that emotional and mental aspect that comes with being

Julia Avery 58:17
domestic abuse victim because I believe he was.

Kelley Richey 58:21
So this school superintendent that we mentioned earlier, he said that Alex had behavioral problems typical of a child with severe ADHD, but that those problems improved throughout the year. Flanagan said he was not aware of any issues that would cause grandma to remove Alex from school and denied knowing that Alex sexually assaulted another student, so lies more lies being totally debunked as we go. So the police said in a chart in charging documents that a neighbor of the family reported hearing screaming and saying Alex run as fast as he could of the house in December. So back to these neighbors, it’s worse than what Julia described. So in this report, the neighbor said that the aunt Madison, and grandma they caught Alex Okay, picture this there were all running after him. The whole family’s fucking running. But since since Sasa The third is such a big farm kid. He can’t keep up. So the aunt Madison and granny catch Alex and they hold him until Sasa the third could catch up. And then they allowed sasser the third to drag Alex back to the house as fast as he could while punching and Alex in the face periodically. So this person says that they witnessed the aunt and grandma watch the uncle Sasa the third beat on Alex and did nothing to stop him but well my They not only might have stopped him they carry down to hand him over to him for that to happen yes they were encouraging this so grandma’s saying she didn’t know how bad this was is all bullshit. Oh, definitely bullshit. So here’s the part Julia that I mentioned earlier so, cellphone footage submitted to the court showed grandma and Sasa the third hitting Alex with a wooden paddle and strangling him and then in addition to that, they were they were starving him and padlocking the cupboards while Sasa The third is over 300 pounds, and is only 14 fucking years old.

We’ve already talked about this before real quick, but it reminds me of like, you know, the Dudley’s from Harry Potter. Mm hmm. Oh, yeah, just if that was turned into a horror movie that would be this. If just if just Harry and Harry with the Dudley’s or the or the dursleys, right, Dudley Worsley, Dudley darzee if that was that whole, like just living situation was turned into a horror film? That would be this kid’s experience here. Yeah, absolutely. And dog wars would just be the escape in his head that he would go to to deal with his reality. Yes, so the version of Harry Potter I just was thinking about that in my head. Like, maybe that’s the thing that I do is recreate, like us a harder version of this. And Harry goes to learn magic so that he can practice black magic upon them. Anyways, no, but like he only does this like Hogwarts is fictional. Like no that’s his his his escape.

Dang Julie.

That’s what I write a script like that’s that’s what I’m saying is like that it’s all fake. And the whole Hogwarts thing is fake. And that’s what he creates in his mind to escape his reality. Damage Ilia that’s that that’s what I’m saying. Let’s work on that. That’s actually super amazing. I’d like that probably more than hockey and Harry Potter. Just as I can kind of relate to that I would have my own stories I’ve got in my head curled up the the voiceover you know, to on the preview would say you’ve heard you’ve seen the other side of the story. Now you get the truth. You all we all grew up in know Harry Potter. But did you know you actually do know Harry Potter the most exciting bit of fan fiction ever written. So in an interview with police, the 14 year old sasses third admitting to kicking Alex’s had several times in the 24 to 36 hours before his death, which would also kind of explain why he was looking up and googling, you know, how long is the longest coma and head trauma and things of that nature. brutal, brutal. So then an autopsy revealed that Alex died from head trauma after Sasa the third who was six feet tall weighing 300 pounds, got into a bad fight. So what is Uncle sasser facing for all of this Sasa third?

Julia Avery 1:03:36
Well,

Kelley Richey 1:03:39
it was reported that judge brown centered sentence Sasser, the third on the spot, sentencing him to stay in juvenile detention until he reaches the age of 18. So that’s all yours. Okay, four years of juvenile detention. Following that punishment, he’s been required to be on probation until he is 21 years old. So that’s like another four years, but but he’ll be out, he’ll be living his life. So it’s like a three year so right? Yeah, he’ll be out living his life for like three years, but on probation three years after juvenile detention. And then it says, according to officials, Sasa third will not be on the violent offender registry list somehow. I don’t know why. Maybe because he’s not an adult. But when he turns 18, he should be.

I agree.

So apparently, he’s supposed to maintain, remain in mental health counseling, during only the period of detainment. That should be if he’s going to be free. When he gets out, that should be a continuous set should be part of the probation that not The probation But even after that he should be required to check in. And I,

we’ve talked about trying kids as as adults and how we disagree with that. So I understand what this judge is trying to do here. But what you can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, or happened to maybe somebody that he dates or marries, if anybody would even look at him or touch him is to say, okay, all these things above. And then, you know, once probation is over a 21. You have to be retried, and see if, you know, if we want to pursue, you know, how have you behaved? Like, how is your mental health counseling going? How, how are all these things? check back in with the progress. And if enough progress hasn’t been made? Maybe you get maybe you get tried as an adult now?

Julia Avery 1:05:53
Yeah.

Kelley Richey 1:05:54
are you beating kids up in juvie? Like, are you? Are you being violent? So there has to be like, I don’t know why there isn’t that cushion of this is so lenient, so lenient, and he literally murdered Alex, and he stated in text messages to his dad, that he was wanting to kill him. And he was searching, making searches on the internet for things that lined up with exactly what he did. Um, this is so lenient. Okay. So did you be detention probation after that? Just three years? Oh, he has a, but he has a really big, he’s gonna he’s gonna be working to to, to pay off all kinds of stuff in restitution, right. buttload of restitution?

Oh, well.

Julia Avery 1:06:45
He’s gonna be paying a whopping $500. restitution fine, to the crime victims Compensation Fund. That That right there to me is just a huge slap in the face to the crime victims Compensation Fund. I’d be like, you know what, I don’t want that from you. I don’t know. I don’t want that. That’s, that’s offensive, that I’m active.

Kelley Richey 1:07:18
Now, I realize guys that this is also kind of ongoing, a little tidbit is that we will be speaking with the mother of Alex, in our next episode. And so we are looking forward to getting some more details for you and seeing kind of where this case lies where, where the court in the trial is kind of going well or badly in her opinion. But it seems that her her side of the story, as told by the news, which we will dive into with her later, is that she had begun the legal process to try and get her child back when he had died. So I’m wondering if all this her she had been trying to reach and speak to Alex since 20, since the summer of 2019. But

grandma was preventing her from being in contact with the kids. So in addition to that escalated as well, because they didn’t want her taking their paycheck away. And they didn’t, you know, because they’re living with money from him.

If we aren’t going to get this money, he’s going to be dead. Like, you know, I’d rather be dead than us not getting you get it. Right, exactly. So the mom also claimed that she is pretty confident that the only reason that grandma ever wanted Hurley, Alex Hurley around was so that they could profit from his child support checks, which is a pretty fair assessment here. And she is stated as saying, I’m surprised they called 911 had that not happened. I wonder what they would have done? They probably would have hit his body up in the mountains and kept collecting that stupid check. Stupid $700 a month. I think that’s why they wanted to keep him it’s stupid. Ain’t no money worth it? Amen. She says that I barely make ends meet I barely make enough to be able to pay my own way in life. Same Alicia. Same. Yeah. Um, but she says I wouldn’t keep a child just for the money. children deserve more than what we’re giving. Exactly.

Julia Avery 1:09:27
Which is why I’m wondering if she had given him up in the first place because of that. That’s what I’m feeling very strongly and I could be wrong. And just like, the amount of guilt that she’s got to be feeling, I can’t even comprehend. Just, you know, giving up your baby.

Kelley Richey 1:09:48
Because you think maybe that’ll be a better life for your kid. More provided. And a look, you know, there’s family there. He’s got uncles and aunts that you know, he’ll be able to run around with family Yeah, I can understand how that decision was made. And I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same. You know, life is really hard guys.

Julia Avery 1:10:11
Yeah, well, I’m, I’m looking forward to hearing her side of things because not only not only about, like, you know, what her experiences been with, like the trials and that but also to kind of get a little bit of an idea of the origins because I feel like those there’s just this huge blank spot that I feel like explains a lot. Yeah, absolutely. Um, I just my heart. My heart goes out to her because just to be I’m not a mother. I’m an aunt urine a great mom. Julie,

you’d be so good.

Oh, no, watch me have a kid and snap.

Like everybody like, Oh, she

Kelley Richey 1:10:54
shouldn’t have had a kid shouldn’t have done that.

But um,

Julia Avery 1:11:02
I mean, just just I’m getting this see Kira grow up? No, I’m, you know, I am. I don’t feel as nearly as much as Heather does. You know who is the mother? But just, I’m very emotionally connected to her and her growing up. And I can’t imagine going through what Alicia did

Kelley Richey 1:11:32
as the aunt,

not even the mother. Like,

Julia Avery 1:11:38
and then I can’t imagine being like the aunt to Kira. And having walking in with her lying in a pool of blood, just asleep on the floor and just walking past her. I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine not checking to see if she’s okay. Are you still alive? Like, I mean, the slightest bump. It’s like, Oh, my gosh, somebody beats you at daycare. It’s like, Okay, oh my gosh, you bumped your head, Oh, honey, come here. It’s like these people are like, literally a bloodbath with this child. And they just well, and to wrap this up, guys, just think

Kelley Richey 1:12:17
just one thing is that I was on a phone call a few years back with a sibling. And in the background, I could hear their partner beating violently beating a dog. And I was so haunted and so upset by it, that at that very moment, I would have gotten in a car and driven 15 hours away to go beat this person up. Physically. I thought to myself self, if I was there, I would go to prison over this. And

that’s an animal that I’m hearing in distress and being tortured and caused violent pain too. So with that in mind, guys, you know, just picture this whole family seeing this as a pattern of normalcy. And how many people would have gotten more upset and been more vocal? Had it been done to an animal?

Julia Avery 1:13:20
Could be? Could be.

Kelley Richey 1:13:23
There needs to be a PETA for children. That’s what I’m talking about. Julie? Exactly. And the fact that you know, PETA has such a and I think it’s important because I’m a big sucker for animals. But yeah, here’s the thing is that if we were as on top of this situation with our the children and how, you know, we’re going to say this statistic again, four to seven children every single day die in circumstances like this. Why is this not on the news every single day? Exactly.

Because it’s hard. It’s hard to listen to it’s hard to swallow it’s it’s tough because people feel uncomfortable. And yeah, also, I feel like you know, kind of like we’ve talked about some of the responses that like homeschoolers have the get all up in arms against common sense laws. I feel like people also are touchy on these subjects and about getting too involved because of Well, where is what is freedom then? Where I mean as a family as a parent, do you have the freedom you will have the freedom to punish your child as you see fit Lola? Yeah, I guarantee you that same Karen that was commenting on that.

The case from last week of sweet little Raylee Browning, I guarantee you that she’s probably she She would probably side with the grandma in a heartbeat over this. Well, that boy drove her to the brink, that boys behavior, guarantee it, you have to get go with punishment one man that’s now get. Let’s not forget that there are children out there who desperately need protection and help and our effort here with the family ties is to, to shed light on it and also to get you guys riled up enough to get involved to demand better of your law enforcement and your judges and your your courts. So this is this is a problem for all of us. And I mean, you see these commercials on TV for like, save the little children. And you know, with Sarah McLaughlin sad little tune behind it for dogs. And I mean, we have all these things. And people will donate to it because they see it and it makes them uncomfortable or sad in the moment, we need things like that for this, like make it make a 32nd or one minute clip about, you know, James, Alex Hurley and then say donate now to, you know, the Coalition for Responsible home education that is successful, that would be successful. If you saw those ads running on TV. I think if you can get people to stop and think about it. People do care. And we’re not saying you don’t. But

we’re also you’re faced with this news every day, you’re faced with random news stories that are like more on the horrific side. And it’s more of like the novelty of the journalism side than it is for daily accounting of, of what’s happening to children on a daily basis. It’s those isolated stories that are news grabbing headlines like, yeah, so anyways, we’re gonna leave it at that, but we would really appreciate it if you would go, wherever you’re listening. Or if you’re watching this on YouTube, bring the bell, do whatever you’re supposed to do hit like rate review, please. And where else can they find us? Julie, you can find us at our website, www dot the family ties podcast.com. Make a difference, guys. We want to make a difference. So we’re going to keep you guys posted on all this stuff. We’re not going to let it rest after we talk about it. We’re going to check back in we’re going to be looking into these laws. And especially like with Riley’s law, that’s not where this ends. We are going to go back and we’re going to we’re going to show you discussions that we have with lawmakers like

this is

this is potently specifically important work that I don’t think enough people are doing. So we’re gonna is only good start this Yeah. So help us out. And please recommend us to a friend. And we hope you guys have a good day, night or week, depending on where you listen to this. All right. It was good talking to you, Julia. I love I was good talking to join the family and the family guys.

All right. Bye

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