Patterson Gets Maximum Sentence in Closs Killing, Kidnapping

Jake Thomas Patterson is being sentenced in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents. Jake Thomas Patterson is being sentenced in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents. |  Photo: Barron Co. Sheriff's Office

Jon Ellis, WDIO-TV
Updated: May 24, 2019 04:50 PM

A judge has ordered the maximum sentence of life in prison to the man who kidnapped 13-year-old Jayme Closs after killing her parents in their northwestern Wisconsin home last fall.


Judge James Babler handed down the sentence against 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson on Friday in a Barron County courtroom. Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without the possiblity of release on each of two first-degree intentional homicide counts, plus 25 years in prison on a kidnapping count, served consecutively.

Patterson admitted to killing James and Denise Closs at their Barron home last October and kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme, who was able to escape from captivity after being held for nearly three months at Patterson's Gordon home.

"There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet," Judge Babler said before handing down the sentence.

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

A guardian ad litem read a statement from Jayme at the hearing.

"He can't take my freedom.  He thought that he could own me, but he was wrong.  I was smarter," Jayme's statement said.

Jayme's statement said she doesn't want to see her home or belongings because of memories of the night she was kidnapped.  She said it's hard to go out in public because she gets scared and anxious.

"He can't stop me from being happy moving forward with my life," Jayme's statement said.

Six family members spoke at the hearing, urging the judge to hand down the maximum sentence. Many of them said they lived in fear after the murders and disappearance of Jayme.

Sue Allard, the older sister of Denise, said she was woken up to a call delivering the horrible news and hoped she was having a nightmare.  She said Jayme must start over "but she has her loving family behind her."

"I still think that I'm going to wake up one day and this is going to be a bad dream," said Kelly Engelhar, James' sister. "But none of us are going to get our family members back."

Lindsey Smith, a cousin of Jayme, addressed Patterson directly.  "You took so much from Jayme.  You took her parents, her home, her childhood, and her happiness," she said.

At the hearing, Patterson said he "would do absolutely anything" to bring back the Closs parents.

"I'll just say that I would do absolutely anything to take back what I did. You know? I would die," he told the court. "I would do absolutely anything to bring them back. I don't care about me. I'm just so sorry. That's all."

His statement was less than a minute and included long pauses. 

Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright also called for a maximum sentence, saying Patterson is a "cold-blooded killer who traumatized a 13-year-old girl for 88 days." He said Patterson is a danger to the community and should not be released.

Later, public defender Charles Glynn conceded that Patterson would likely spend the rest of his life in prison. He said Patterson accepts and understands that.

Glynn defended a decision by the defense team that Patterson should not sit for an interview for a pre-sentence investigation. He alleged that the pre-sentence investigation was not written from a neutral perspective.


Jon Ellis, WDIO-TV

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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