The Wisconsin man accused of kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs after killing her parents, then holding her captive in a cabin for nearly three months has pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping charges.
Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, had been charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary charges stemming from the Oct. 15 attack on the Closs home during which he allegedly gunned down James and Denise Closs before abducting their teen daughter. As part of the plea agreement he entered into Wednesday he will no longer be charged with burglary.
“Mr. Patterson has wanted to enter a [guilty] plea since the day we met him,” one of Patterson’s defense attorney Richard Jones said. He went on to say “this is his choice. This is what he wants.”
Patterson himself spoke to the judge and confirmed that he agreed to the plea agreement. He sounded nervous at times, responding to the judge’s questions with “yeah” and “yes.” When asked if he is being treated for any mental health issues, he said no.
He seemed composed for the most part, but he broke down when he actually had to say the words “guilty.” Patterson began crying when judge read the complaint's charges and could be heard sniffing loudly and pausing for a few seconds before being able to state “guilty.” His voice was clearly cracking.
Patterson had hinted he would plead guilty while corresponding with reporters earlier this month.
In that note, he said he planned to plead guilty and that he wants “Jayme and her relatives to know that. Don’t want them to worry about a trial.”
He also called Jennifer Mayerle, a reporter at Minnesota station WCCO, on Friday, again stating that he feels remorse about what he put Jayme through.
Patterson told investigators he decided to kidnap her after he spotted her getting onto a school bus near her home. After two aborted attempts, Patterson arrived at the Closs home Oct. 15 with a shotgun, killing James Closs at the front door after the father came down to see why a stranger was standing outside their home.
Jayme and her mother hid in the bathtub with the door closed as they heard her father getting shot to death, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com. Then, Patterson had Denise Closs help him tie up Jayme before he shot her dead too, afterward taking the teen out to his car and putting her in the trunk.
During her captivity at Patterson's cabin in rural Wisconsin, he would force her to hide under his bed if he had friends or relatives over and he "made it clear that nobody was to know she was there or bad things would happen to her." Closs said he once hit her over the back with an object used to clean window blinds.
Jayme escaped on Jan. 10 after 88 days in captivity and flagged down a woman for help. She was able to provide a description of the car Patterson was driving, and he was arrested shortly thereafter.
Patterson will be sentenced on May 24.
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