Fourth person charged in fatal beating of 12-year-old West Yellowstone boy

Fourth person charged in fatal beating of 12-year-old West Yellowstone boy

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BOZEMAN — Montana authorities arrested a fourth person accused of being involved in the fatal beating of a 12-year-old boy at his home in West Yellowstone.

Gage Roush, 18, was arrested and charged with felony assault of a minor and appeared in court in the Feb. 3 death of James Alex Hurley, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Prosecutors requested bail be set at $150,000 and his attorney Buddy Rutzke argued that the request was unreasonable, and requested it be lowered to $5,000.

Roush's bail was set at $50,000.

James Alex Hurley

James Alex Hurley

After Hurley's death, investigators found video evidence indicating Roush, the boy's grandparents and 14-year-old uncle regularly abused him, authorities said. The autopsy found he had bruising all over his body and died from trauma to the head, prosecutors said.

Roush told detectives that he was the person in the video hitting Hurley, according to charging documents.

Roush could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

Hurley's grandparents James Sasser Jr. and Patricia Batts were each charged with felony deliberate homicide and appeared in court this week. A 14-year-old uncle of Hurley was charged with deliberate homicide in youth court Wednesday, the Chronicle reported. The Associated Press is not publishing his name because he is a juvenile.

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The small community in northern Montana has a population of about 4,800 but accounts for three-fifths of the state's five total deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus

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