Madison Sasser

Madison Sasser

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Bail was set at $150,000 Friday for a woman charged in connection to the death of her 12-year-old nephew at their home near West Yellowstone.

Madison Sasser, 18, is charged with negligent homicide in the death of Alex Hurley. She appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court before Judge Rick West.

She is being held at the Gallatin County jail.

Sasser’s mother, Patricia Batts, father, James Sasser Jr., and 14-year-old brother, James Sasser III, each face deliberate homicide charges. Gage Roush, 18, a family friend, is also charged with felony assault on a minor after prosecutors said he was seen on video hitting the boy with a wooden paddle.

In February, investigators found videos on Batts’ and Sasser III’s phones of the family torturing Alex at their home on Buffalo Drive near Hebgen Lake, according to charging documents.

Batts started homeschooling Alex in September. If she found he wasn’t doing his work, Batts told detectives, she made him do “wall sits,” jumping jacks or had him stand in front of fans half naked while being squirted with water.

Madison Sasser told detectives that two nights before the family found Alex dead, Sasser III dented a wall by hitting Alex’s head against it while Batts and Sasser Jr. were there, court documents say. The fight started when Sasser III touched a heater while being duct tapped to Alex, and Sasser III began to kick and punch Alex in the head several times, Madison Sasser said.

She told detectives she believed Sasser III killed Alex.

Text Madison Sasser sent to her boyfriend said Alex was like “a piece of (expletive) off of my (expletive) shoe” and that he “could (expletive) go and die in the woods and I wouldn’t (expletive) care,” court documents say. She also said she would be the “one to talk in his funeral :)).”

In the messages Madison Sasser wrote, “I’m so heartless to him dude honestly. I beat the (expletive) out of him just now.” She later said she had “beat the (expletive) outta him my (expletive) hands hurt.”

Batts and Sasser Jr. are also charged with felony criminal child endangerment. Batts also faces aggravated kidnapping and strangulation of a partner or family member charges, all felonies.

Batts, Sasser Jr., Sasser III and Roush have each pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Batts, Roush, and Sasser Jr. are also being held at the Gallatin County jail. The 14-year-old uncle is being held at the Yellowstone Youth Services Center in Billings.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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