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BREAKING: Jake Patterson sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping Jayme Closs, killing her parents

Barron County (WQOW) – The man who killed James and Denise Closs and kidnapped their daughter Jayme learned he will spend the rest of his life behind bars Friday.

Barron County 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.

The letter said, “Last October Jake Patterson took a lot of things away from me. I felt safe in my home. I loved my stuff and my room. He took all that away from me.”

The letter went on to say it is too hard for Closs to go out into public, but said “Some things Jake cannot take away from me – my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.”

Closs letter ended by saying, “He stole my parents away from me.”

Here is more of her letter:

“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.”

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. They said the impact of what he did will never go away.

The defense argued that if Patterson gets life in prison without parole he would not have the access to programs he made need in prison. They said Patterson has taken responsibility for his actions and has accepted he will die in prison. Patterson has not asked his defense to explore any other options.

The defense told the judge 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.”

The judge said he looked at three factors during sentencing – the first being the gravity of the offense. The second is the fact Patterson planned his act and third, that he murdered Jayme’s parents within feet of her.

The judge said it is unusual for someone to come in front of him without a previous record.

The judge said to Patterson, there is no doubt in my mind you are one of the most dangerous people to walk the planet. “You are the embodiment of evil.”

Details of Case:

It was the early-morning hours of Monday, October 15, 2018 when Patterson killed James and Denise before taking Jayme to his family home in Gordon.

Read: Details of Jake Patterson criminal complaint

That led to months of searching, prayers and questions.

More: Closs abduction, timeline of events

In the days that followed Jayme’s abduction, police received hundreds of tips – none of which proved to be credible.

Roughly a week after the incident, the FBI put out a $25,000 reward for information leading to Jayme Closs. At that point, the FBI and sheriff’s department had received thousands of tips – but still no sign of the missing teen.

Then on January 10, it was the news the entire nation was waiting for – Jayme Closs was alive and finally safe.

It was that day Closs escaped Patterson’s rural Gordon home and found Jeanne Nutter, a social worker, who helped get her to a safe place – the home of Kristin and Peter Kasinskas. They said their neighbor had a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair standing next to her. Nutter shouted, “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!”

Related: Closs family vows to keep Jayme safe

More: Dispatcher details moments of 911 call

That same day, Jake Patterson was located in a vehicle just down the road from the Kasinskas home. There, he was arrested, and allegedly admitted to police he had committed the crimes.

More: Patterson lawyers say confession may hinder defense

On January 15, Patterson was in court for the first time and also moved to a different jail because a Closs relative works for Barron County.

On March 27, Jake Patterson pleaded guilty to killing James and Denise and abducting Jayme. Patterson became emotional as the charges were read to him by the judge. At one point, Patterson struggled to overcome his emotions to say “guilty.”

At that time, the judge told Patterson he could serve a minimum of 20 years in prison or up to life for each count.

Friday’s sentencing brings an end to the tragic case that started some seven months ago.

District Attorney: We want justice for the Closs family

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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