WAUPUN — Jake Patterson was admitted to Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun on May 28, four days after he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the shooting death of James and Denise Closs, and the kidnapping of their 13-year-old daughter Jayme Closs. But chances are he will not remain at the Dodge County facility.
Judge James Babler, calling Patterson “an extreme danger to the public in general” and “one of the most dangerous men to walk on this planet” handed down the sentence May 24 after Patterson entered a guilty plea in March to to two counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping/carry without consent. A fourth charge, felony burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon was dismissed but read into the court record.
WARNING: Some of the content in the sentencing hearing below is not suitable for all viewers
Statement of Jayme Closs at sentencing
“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad. I love my mom and my dad very much — and they love me very much. And they did all they could to make me happy and to protect me. He took them away from me forever.
I felt safe in my home and I love 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. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory. I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep.
I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to do dance. He took all of those things from me too.
It’s too hard for me to go out in public. I get scared and I get anxious. These are just ordinary things that anyone like me should be able to do. But I can’t because he took them away from me.
But there are some things Jake Patterson can’t ever take from me. He can’t take my freedom. He thought that he could own me. But he was wrong. 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 away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave and he was not.
He can never take away my spirit. He thought that he could make me like him. But he was wrong. He can’t ever change me or change the way I am. He can’t stop me from being happy in 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. He stole my parents from me. He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me — and didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.”
Jake Patterson spoke very briefly at sentencing — and offered the following words:
“I’ll just say that I would do 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’m just so sorry.”
Oct. 15, 2018 murder of James and Denise Closs
According to the criminal complaint, a 911 call came in moments before 1 a.m. on Oct. 15 from the Closs residence. “Screaming could be heard in the background.” First responders arrived in just minutes — around 1 a.m.
A deputy en route noted a maroon, older vehicle “yield to himself and other deputies responding to the scene.”
James Closs was found lying on the floor near the front door — deceased — with “significant trauma to his face and head” from an apparent gunshot wound. A spent 12-gauge shotgun shell was found near his body. Another was found in a hallway in front of the bathroom. A third was found outside.
Denise Closs was found “sitting unresponsive in the shower” — deceased — with “significant head trauma” due to a gunshot wound to the head. The complaint said there was evidence to suggest Denise Closs “attempted to barricade herself in the bathroom,” and someone “kicked or breached” the door. A cellphone was found on the floor near the door.
James and Denise Closs were pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsies revealed both suffered fatal shotgun wounds.
No one else was found in the home.
Investigators determined the door had been “shot with a shotgun slug shell in the area of the deadbolt lock.”
It was quickly determined 13-year-old Jayme Closs was missing, and an Amber Alert was issued.
Jayme Closs found alive
On Thursday, Jan. 10, after missing for 88 days, Jayme Closs was found alive about 70 miles from her Barron home in Gordon — in rural northwestern Wisconsin.
Jayme was rescued while walking down a road in Gordon in frigid weather — without a coat and gloves. She approached Jeanne Nutter, who was out walking her dog. Nutter took Jayme to the nearby home of Peter and Kristen Kasinskas. They learned that Jayme Closs “had stated a male suspect, who she identified as Jake Patterson, had killed her parents and she wants to go home.”
Nutter told investigators around 3:30 p.m., she left for her walk, which took around 40 minutes. When she returned to her driveway, she said she saw a young girl who “begged for help,” telling her “I don’t know where I am. He killed my parents. Please help — I want to go home.” She estimated it was around 4:10 p.m. Nutter said she made the decision to go to the Kasinskas home because, though she didn’t know Patterson, she recognized his name from a mailbox in the area, and knew his cabin was “only two driveways west.” She said Jayme was “in shock, tired, with matted hair and messy clothes.”
Investigators responded to the Kasinskas home around 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 10. Jayme was found wearing men’s tennis shoes on the wrong feet. A decision was made ” to remove Jayme from the area for her safety.”
As a deputy drove with Jayme, a red vehicle approached, and the deputy “asked Jayme if that was Patterson’s car, and Jayme said she didn’t know.” Other investigators were notified — and the vehicle’s plates were checked. It was learned the vehicle was registered to a female with the last name “Patterson.” A deputy noted the lone occupant was a male — and followed the vehicle, which passed the Gordon home where Jayme was allegedly held. A traffic stop was conducted, and the driver told the deputy “his name is Jake Patterson.” As he stepped out of the vehicle, the complaint said Patterson told the deputy: “I did it.”
Jayme Closs describes her abduction
Jayme described Patterson as “dressed in black from head to toe, including a face mask, hat and gloves.
According to the complaint, Jayme said Patterson “taped her hands and ankles together and dragged her to his vehicle– where he placed her in the trunk. She said she heard sirens as Patterson began driving.
She estimated she was in the trunk for about two hours before they arrived at the Gordon cabin, which she said Patterson told her was “his house.”
At the home, the complaint said Patterson removed the tape, and made her take off all of her clothing, making “a comment about not having evidence.” She said he told her he was going to throw her clothes away.
Jayme’s time in captivity
Jayme Closs told investigators at times, Patterson would have friends/relatives over, and “Patterson made it clear that nobody was to know she was there, or bad things would happen to her,” the complaint said.
She said Patterson “made her hide under his bed in his bedroom,” stacking totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights stacked against them so she could not move them without his being able to detect it. She said at one point, she accidentally moved one of the totes when she was told to hide under the bed, and “Patterson told her something bad would happen if she did it again.” She said Patterson “would turn music on in his room so she couldn’t hear what as happening if there was anyone else in the house with him.”
She was also forced to stay under the bed when Patterson left the house, the complaint said. She said she was forced to do this for up to 12 hours at a time with no food, water or bathroom breaks.
She described one occasion when Patterson “got mad at her and hit her really hard with what she described as a handle for something used to clean blinds, and that it hurt really bad.” She said Patterson told her “if it happened again, the punishment would be worse next time.”
Interview with Jake Patterson
The complaint said Jake Patterson confessed to killing James and Denise Closs, and kidnapping Jayme Closs. He said one day on the way home from work at the Saputo Cheese Factory in Almena, he “stopped behind a school bus on Highway 8, where he watched (Jayme Closs) get on a school bus.” He said he “had no idea who she was, nor did he know who lived at the house.” He said when he saw Jayme, “he knew that was the girl he was going to take.”
He admitted to purchasing a mask as part of his plan “to conceal his identity when he took (Jayme).”
He told investigators he drove to the Closs home twice with the intent to kidnap Jayme prior to Oct. 15, when the abduction occurred. He said on one occasion, “there were all kinds of cars in the driveway and it scared him off.” On another night, “the lights were on in the house and people were walking around in the house, so he decided not to do it then.”
He said he “put quite a bit of thought into the details of how he was going to abduct” Jayme. He said he stole license plates from a vehicle “because he did not want to get stopped or spotted with his own license plates.” He described other modifications to his vehicle, including replacing the dome light so it wouldn’t illuminate his presence inside, and removing the trunk light and the “kidnapping cord” so no one could pull the trunk release from inside.
According to the complaint, he said he took his father’s 12-gauge shotgun because “he assumed it would be more difficult to trace,” and he “felt it would inflict the most damage.” He said he wiped down the shotgun shells and cleaned and wiped down the shotgun “so there would be no fingerprints or DNA on either of them.” He said he shaved his head and face “so that he would not leave any DNA or hair at the scene.”
He said as he neared the Closs home on Oct. 15, he shut off his headlights and “coasted into the driveway.” He said as he approached the house, he saw James Closs standing in the front picture window. He said he “hollered for James to get on the ground, but James kept shining a flashlight and looking outside.” He said at the door, he “raised the shotgun and aimed at James’ head,” pulling the trigger. He said he then fired at the door.
According to the complaint, he said he stepped into the home and across James’ body, and he “knew James was dead.”
Patterson told investigators he checked the home for other people, and noticed the closed bathroom door. He estimated it took “10 to 15 hits with his shoulder” before the door opened. He said he ripped off the shower curtain rod and threw it to the floor. Denise and Jayme were in the bathtub, with Denise’s arms wrapped around her daughter.
Patterson then told Denise to place duct tape on her daughter. The complaint said Patterson removed Jayme from the bathtub, and “pulled the trigger” at Denise’s head “because he knew that head shots were the best way to kill a person.”
The complaint said Patterson told investigators he then began dragging Jayme to his vehicle — placing her in the trunk and locking it shut. He admitted to yielding to three passing squads headed toward the house, telling investigators “he was determined he was going to take (Jayme) that night and was going to kill anyone in the house because he could not leave any eyewitnesses behind.” When asked what he would have done if stopped, he told investigators “he most likely would have shot at police.”
He admitted to “creating a space under his bed” for Jayme “so he would know if she tried to get out, since the weights would be removed” from the totes stacked around the bed.
He said there were two occasions when he thought Jayme Closs had tried to get out from under the bed, and “he had struck a wall and screamed a lot, to the point where he knew she was scared and she knew that she better not try that again.” He said Jayme was “fearful enough of him that she knew that she was not to leave the bedroom without him.” When he would leave, he told her “she better not leave” or “bad things would happen to her.” He said “because of his anger and outbursts” Jayme complied and did as she was told.
Around Christmas, the complaint said Patterson went to Superior to visit a grandparent. He estimated he was gone for 12 hours, and told Jayme “if she needed to go to the bathroom she had to hold it.” He indicated his father would come to the house, and “he would make (Jayme) go under the bed, turning up the radio in his room “to cover up any noise (Jayme) might make.”
He advised he initially kept a loaded shotgun outside his room “in case the police came.” Eventually he emptied the shotgun and moved it to a broken down vehicle in the yard.