BARRON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin man who admitted kidnapping a 13-year-old girl after killing her parents was sentenced today to two consecutive life terms without eligibility for release, plus an additional 25 years.
Jake Patterson, 21, was given the two life sentences for murdering James and Denise Closs. The Barron County judge also gave Patterson 25 years in prison and 15 years extended supervision to be served consecutively to the life sentences for Jayme Closs’ kidnapping.
Patterson admitted kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents on Oct. 15 at the family’s home near Barron, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Minneapolis.
Closs escaped in January after 88 days in Patterson’s cabin near the small, isolated town of Gordon, some 60 miles (97 kilometers) from her home. Patterson told authorities he decided Jayme “was the girl he was going to take” after he saw her getting on a school bus near her home.
During the sentencing hearing, Sue Ann Allard – Jayme’s aunt, told the judge that she fell to the ground and screamed when she heard the news.
“My life was ripped apart and shattered into pieces,” Allard said. “Jayme lost everything.”
The second person to speak was Lindsey Smith, Jayme’s cousin. She called Jake Patterson “One extremely terrible person.”
She asked the judge to give Patterson the maximum sentence.
The third person to speak was Jayme’s aunt Jennifer Smith. She said she has terrible nightmares and will not let Patterson destroy her family no more. She, too, asked for the maximum sentence.
Jim Closs’ sister Kelley Engelhardt struggled to overcome emotion just to spell her name.
“I still think I’m going to wake up and this will be a bad dream,” she said.
Then Chris Gramstrump, the family’s lawyer ad litem read a letter written by Jayme Closs.
The letter said, “Last October Jake Patterson took a lot of things away from me.” I felt safe in my home. I loved my stuff and my room. He took all that away from me.”
The letter went on to say it is too hard for Closs to go out into public, but said “Some things Jake cannot take away from me – my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.”
Closs letter ended by saying, “He stole my parents away from me.
The State asked the judge to give Patterson life in prison.
Then, the state showed pictures of James and Denise with Jayme on a whiteboard in the courtroom. Patterson did not look up while the pictures were described.
Here is more of her letter:
“I loved my mom and dad very much and they loved me very much. They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever. I felt safe in my home and I loved 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.”
“I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep. It’s too hard for me to go out in public. I get scare and I get anxious”
“There’s some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can’t take my freedom. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not. Jake Patterson can never take my courage. He thought he could control me but he couldn’t.”
“I was brave and he was not. He can never take away my spirit. He can’t ever change me or take away who I am. 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. I feel like I have some power over him because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him.”
“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.”
The State said Patterson should never be given the opportunity to hurt or kill anyone again. They said the impact of what he did will never go away.
The defense said that if Patterson gets life in prison without parole he would not have the access to programs he made need in prison. They said Patterson has taken responsibility for his actions.
The defense said Patterson has accepted he will die in prison and has not asked his defense to explore any other options.
The defense argued before this crime, Patterson had never been in trouble with the law. They said it was not his lifestyle in the past.
Patterson’s attorney said Patterson has lived a lifetime of social isolation and started to withdraw at an early age.
Jake Patterson spoke in court and said the following in tears.
“I would do absolutely anything to take back what I did. I’d die. I’d do anything to bring them back. I am so sorry.”
The judge said he looks at three factors during sentencing – the first being the gravity of the offense. The second is the fact Patterson planned his act and third, that he murdered Jayme’s parents within feet of her.
The judge said it is unusual for someone to come in front of him without a previous record.
The judge said to Patterson, there is no doubt in my mind you are one of the most dangerous people to walk the planet. “You are the embodiment of evil.”
Details of Case:
It was the early-morning hours of Monday, October 15, 2018 when Patterson killed James and Denise before taking Jayme to his family home in Gordon.
In the days that followed Jayme’s abduction, police received hundreds of tips – none of which proved to be credible.
Roughly a week after the incident, the FBI put out a $25,000 reward for information leading to Jayme Closs. At that point, the FBI and sheriff’s department had received thousands of tips – but still no sign of the missing teen.
Then on January 10, it was the news the entire nation was waiting for – Jayme Closs was alive and finally safe.
It was that day Closs escaped Patterson’s rural Gordon home and found Jeanne Nutter, a social worker, who helped get her to a safe place – the home of Kristin and Peter Kasinskas. They said their neighbor had a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair standing next to her. Nutter shouted, “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!”
Read our full coverage at https://wkow.com/jayme/.