• Jake Patterson sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping Jayme Closs, killing her parents

    By: Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A judge sentenced the man who admitted to killing a Wisconsin couple last year before holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for three months to life in prison without the possibility of supervised release.

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    Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, appeared before a Barron County judge for sentencing in the killing of James and Denise Closs and the kidnapping of their daughter, Jayme, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide for gunning down James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. He also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping for abducting Jayme.

    Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 24: A judge sentenced Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each of the intentional homicide charges to which Patterson pleaded guilty.

    The judge also gave Patterson the maximum sentence -- 40 years -- for kidnapping Jayme.

    Update 4:20 p.m. EDT May 24: In a brief, tearful statement in court, Patterson said he “would do like, absolutely anything to take back what I did.”

    “I would die,” he said. “I would.”

    Patterson’s attorneys asked a judge to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole until 2072 for the killings of James and Denise Closs.

    The sentencing hearing is ongoing.

    Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 24: In a statement read by an attorney Friday in court, Jayme said Patterson took many things from her but that, “He can never take my spirit away.”

    “He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong,” she said. “He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not. Jake Patterson will never have any power over me.”

    Chris Gramstrup, an attorney representing Jayme, read the victim impact statement in court.

    “He stole my parents from me,” Jayme said in the statement. “He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.”

    Prosecutors said Jayme and her mother heard Patterson shoot and kill James Closs as they huddled together in a bathtub. Denise Closs called 911 as Patterson tried to batter down the bathroom door. Once he broke down the door, he wrestled the phone from Denise Closs and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth, hands and feet, prosecutors said.

    He told authorities that he thought she was doing a bad job, so he put down his shotgun to do it himself. Once Jayme was restrained, authorities said he picked up his shotgun again and, with Jayme feet from her mother, shot Denise Closs in the head. He then dragged Jayme to his car, threw her in the trunk and drove her to his home, where she was held captive for 88 days.

    Through Gramstrup, Jayme said her parents “did all they could to make me happy and protect me.”

    “He took them away from me forever,” Jayme said. “I felt safe in my home and I love my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life.”

    She said that since her escape in January, “It’s too hard for me to go out in public.”

    “I get scared and I get anxious,” she said.

    Prosecutors said Jayme escaped from Patterson’s home Jan. 10 after he left her alone.

    Original report: Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said members of Jayme’s family are expected to give statements at Friday’s hearing, MPR News reported. The court proceeding is expected to last several hours, according to CNN.

    Under Wisconsin law, Patterson will face a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide convictions, the News Tribune reported. The main question for Friday will be whether Patterson will eventually be eligible for parole, according to the newspaper.

    Authorities said Patterson admitted to targeting Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus while he was driving home from work one day. He told investigators he did not know the Closses before the attack.

    Jayme told authorities she woke early on the morning of Oct. 15 when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents and then hid with her mother in a bathroom. Investigators said Patterson shot and killed James Closs before he found Jayme and Denise Closs in the bathroom.

    Jayme said Patterson killed her mother before dragging her to his car and driving her to what would turn out to be his home in Douglas County.

    He was arrested after Jayme escaped Jan. 10 from his home and flagged down a woman walking her dog.

    Jayme told investigators Patterson made her hide under the bed in his bedroom for as many as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She escaped after Patterson left her alone in the home 88 days after he first abducted her.

    Jayme is living with her aunt and uncle, the Stevens Point Journal reported.


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