BARRON, WI — The man who pleaded guilty to killing James and Denise Closs and kidnapping their daughter Jayme learned his fate in a Barron County courtroom Friday afternoon.
Judge James Babler sentenced Jake Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It was a packed and emotional courtroom on Friday as six family members took the stand.
The first person to speak was Sue Ann Allard – Jayme’s aunt. She said 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, which included the following:
“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.”
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.
The State said Patterson should never be given the opportunity to hurt or kill anyone again, saying 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, saying 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.”
Before issuing his sentence, 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, Patterson murdered Jayme’s parents within feet of her.
Patterson could be seen shaking his head for much of the time while the judge spoke.
Judge Babler told Patterson, “There is no doubt in my mind you are one of the most dangerous people to walk the planet, and that you are the embodiment of evil”, and that “I have no doubt you have regret, and have no doubt you have no remorse.”
Babler also said the crimes ranked as the most heinous and dangerous he has seen in Barron County, in Wisconsin, and possibly in the United States.
Watch the full sentencing below.
The man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Jayme Closs last fall will learn his fate Friday afternoon.
Jake Patterson, 21, of Gordon, Wisconsin will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. in Barron County.
In March, Patterson pleaded guilty after kidnapping Closs and killing her parents.
Patterson faces life sentences on two counts of intentional murder, and an additional 40 years for kidnapping.