“I will always have my freedom, and he will not,” Jayme Closs said in her victim impact statement, read by her guardian ad litem.
Jake T. Patterson was sentenced on May 24 to life in prison for the Oct. 15 murders of James and Denise Closs in their Barron home, and the abduction of their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme.
"There is no doubt in my mind you are one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet,” Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler said.
Patterson, 21, had pleaded guilty March 27 to two counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Six of Jayme’s family members members read victim impact statements describing the pain, fear and sleepless nights experienced since hearing about the deaths of their family members and abduction of Jayme.
Family described the loving and hardworking nature of James and Denise Closs.
All six made it clear they wanted Patterson to receive the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
As District Attorney Brian Wright vividly described actions Patterson took preceding, during and after Oct. 15, a large poster board with four pictures of Denise, Jim and Jayme was put across the courtroom, directly in front of Patterson. The pictures were not taken down.
As Wright described Patterson as “a cold blooded killer,” Patterson shook his head.
Nothing Mr. Patterson says or does can mitigate what he has done, Wright said.
Wright requested the maximum sentence for all three counts and for all three counts to run consecutively.
“Jake Patterson is never getting out of prison,” said Charles Glynn, one of Patterson’s defense attorneys. Glynn said the first time he heard Jake Patterson will be locked up for life, was from Patterson himself.
Glynn suggested Patterson has saved the trauma of a trial for the family and the community, and said that he wants Patterson to have a chance to be a contributing person in the prison and be eligible for therapeutic programs and employment opportunities.
“The only reason we did not try this case,” Richard Jones, Patterson’s other attorney, said, “was because Jake Patterson didn’t want us to.”
Jones talked about the kindness of Patterson’s immediate family, and how Patterson’s own criminal history amounted to one parking ticket.
Isolation has been a constant throughout Patterson’s life, Jones stated. Jones said this isolating behavior led to his criminal actions as a desperate attempt to inject meaning into his life.
The defense requested a life sentence on each homicide count, but with an extended supervision date of 2072. Jones said Patterson would be 75 that year.
Jones said that with the maximum of 25 years initial confinement with 15 years extended supervision for the kidnapping charge, Patterson would be 100 years old.
Patterson was emotional in his brief statement:
“I’ll just say that, I would do, like, absolutely anything to take back what I did. I would die. I would do absolutely anything to bring them back. I don't care about me. I just, I’m just so sorry. That’s all.”
Judge Babler told Patterson, “The actions and ideas you had are not normal.” Babler said Patterson’s crimes rank as the most heinous and dangerous he has seen anywhere in the state of Wisconsin and perhaps the United States.
Patterson shook his head as Babler read from the presentence investigation report, quoting Patterson as saying he wanted to control a girl, and that Jayme had been the first girl he had seen since those thoughts had entered his mind.
At one point Patterson spoke out and interrupted the judge, complaining about the reading. The defense had said earlier that the PSI was biased, and its writer had been caught up in emotion.
Patterson was sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for extended supervision on both homicide counts, to be served consecutively, and to the max sentence of 40 years for kidnapping.
Babler said the thread of grace in this case was that the community came together and searched for Jayme.
Back in October, after Jayme was declared missing, search parties of hundreds of people went out and come back empty handed.
Her name and face were broadcasted all over the country, but there were no leads.
The northwest region of Wisconsin never gave up hope, however. In Spooner, the high school gym was filled on Nov. 30 with fans dressed in green in hopes of Jayme’s return, and on Dec. 12 in Barron a tree and lantern lighting ceremony was held in hope of Jayme’s return.
The Jennie-O Turkey Store offered to match the $25,000 reward offered by the FBI for information leading to Jayme’s rescue. James and Denise Closs both worked for the Jennie-O Turkey Store, which announced the $25,000 would go to Jayme.
The case never left the region’s collective mind.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald had planned to give a much anticipated Jan. 15 update to the community, but on Jan. 10, what many described as a miracle occurred.
Jayme escaped the Gordon, Wisconsin cabin where Patterson had held her.
“There are some things Jake Patterson can never take from me,” Jayme’s statement read. “He can’t take my freedom. He thought he could own me, but he was wrong.”
Jayme found help from a neighbor walking her dogs.
She was held in the cabin for 88 days.
“I will go on to do great things with my life,” Jayme’s statement read, “and he will not.”