A Wisconsin man charged with abducting 13-year-old Jayme Closs and fatally shooting her parents pleaded guilty Wednesday, bringing some closure to a case that made national headlines as authorities searched for the kidnapped teen for months.
Jake Patterson wept through the brief court appearance, struggling to utter the word “guilty” on two counts of intentional homicide, which carry a sentence of life imprisonment, and one count of kidnapping; the remaining charge of armed burglary was dismissed during the hearing.
One of Patterson’s attorneys, Richard Jones, told the court that the 21-year-old had “wanted to enter a plea from the day we met him” and was adamant that “this is what he wants to do.”
Officers escorted Patterson out of the courtroom Wednesday. Before leaving, he faced the gallery and said, “Bye, Jayme,” according to the Star Tribune.
As The Washington Post previously reported, Patterson was arrested in January and confessed to stalking Jayme in October and to killing her parents, James and Denise, on Oct. 15. According to police documents, after kidnapping Jayme, he kept her captive in a cabin for 88 days. The teenager escaped Jan. 10.
Barron County Judge James Babler scheduled Patterson’s sentencing for May 24.
Amy B Wang contributed to this report.