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Fourth charged in connection to West Yellowstone torture, murder

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 2/18/20

On Feb. 3, a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of an unattended death of a 12-year-old in a West Yellowstone, Montana home, noting the death seemed suspicious with markings along the victim’s body—contusions and gashes, including on the head—inconsistent with self-inflicted wounds. On Feb. 12, three were arrested in connection to the death of James Alex Hurley—his grandparents and his 14-year-old uncle, who will be tried as an adult. Hurley had been living with the trio for nearly two years after being sent by his mother to live with his father, who incidentally died shortly after his arrival. According to The Billings Gazette, his surviving caretakers alleged Hurley was growing increasingly out of control, even saying he was hearing voices telling him to kill people. On Jan. 27, the tension came to a head when Hurley’s grandfather woke to him over the bed with a knife, which prompted a savage beating. An autopsy revealed that Hurley died from blunt force trauma to the head, and cell phone video gathered in the investigation shows multiple instances of torture before the alleged murder; his uncle admitted to kicking the youth in the head between 24 to 36 hours before his death. The three suspects are being held on bonds ranging from $500,000 to $750,000 on charges of felony homicide, and a fourth has been arrested after appearing in a video that depicts what appears to be the fatal beating.

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