Jake Patterson gets life without parole for kidnap of Jayme Closs, murder of her parents

The 21-year-old will die in prison.
Publish date:

Jake Patterson has been sentenced to serve life in prison without parole for the murder of James and Denise Closs and the abduction of their 13-year-old daughter Jayme.

Patterson, 21, was given consecutive life sentences on charges of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and 40 years for one count of first-degree kidnapping.

Patterson broke into the Closs home in Barron, Wisconsin, in the early hours of Oct. 15, shooting James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, dead with a shotgun, before kidnapping Jayme and holding her captive for almost three months before she escaped. 

In an emotional statement read out by her family's attorney, Jayme Closs said Jake Patterson "stole almost everything I loved."

"I used to love to go out with my friends, I loved to go to school, I loved to do dance, he took all those things way from me too," she said. "It's too hard for me to go out in public, I get scared and I get anxious."

But she added: "There are some things Jake Patterson can never take from me: He could not take my freedom, he thought he could own me but he was wrong ... I was too smart for him."

"JP can never take away my courage," she said. "He thought he could control me, but he couldn't ... what he did is what a coward would do, I was brave and he was not.

"He could never take away my spirit, he thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong. He can never change me or take away who I am.

"I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not."

Patterson, meanwhile, told the courtroom: "I would do absolutely anything to take back what I did, I would die, absolutely anything to bring them back. I'm just so sorry."

But Judge James Babler wasn't having it, saying: "There's no doubt in my mind that you're one of the most dangerous men to walk on this planet."

"You are the embodiment of evil, and the public can only be safe if you are incarcerated until you die."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

'We don't feel safe'

District Attorney Brian Wright described in horrifying detail what happened the night Patterson killed Jayme's parents, having decided some days earlier to target their house having seen Jayme getting onto a school bus.

Wright also described the circumstances of Jayme's captivity at his home in Gordon, Wisconsin, showing pictures of the bed under which Patterson kept her, saying he would frequently lose his temper with her and beat her with a curtain rod.

Patterson shook his head as Wright recounted the circumstances of Jayme's escape, describing him as a "cold-blooded killer."

"If Mr. Patterson is ever released from prison, anyone standing between himself and Jayme will be in peril" Wright said.

Six members of the Closs family spoke at the hearing, among them Jayme's aunt Jennifer Smith.

"We now live in fear every day, we watch our backs, we have home security systems, we don't feel safe," she told the court, as she joined her other family members in calling for life without parole for Patterson.

"You have taken so much away from myself and my family," she said. "The horrifying murder of my sister and brother in law, knowing what my sister went through the last moments of her life, trying to protect Jayme ... I still have nightmares.

"Jayme no longer has her parents which were her whole world and they were her whole world. She no longer has her home, her bedroom, her memories ... she lives in fear, doesn't have a normal 13-year-old life, and that's all from what you did."

But Smith promised that "we will smile again" and asked that Patterson "pay for the evil you have done."

Next Up