Wisconsin man pleads guilty to kidnapping Jayme Closs, murdering her parents
The 13-year-old girl was kidnapped from her family's home in Barron, Wisconsin, on Oct. 15 and managed to escape 88 days later.
Jake Patterson appears for a hearing at the Barron County Justice Center, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Barron, Wisconsin. Patterson pleaded guilty Wednesday to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs, killing her parents and holding her captive in a remote cabin for three months.T'xer Zhon Kha / The Post-Crescent via AP, Pool
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Authorities said they believe Patterson targeted Jayme, who was found alive 88 days after she vanished, and did not know the teenager prior to abducting her from her family's home in Barron, Wisconsin, on Oct. 15.
Patterson, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, appeared in a Barron County Court on Wednesday afternoon and answered "yes" to a judge asking him if he wanted to plead guilty. As the judge read the charges, Patterson cried as he said he was guilty.
Several of Jayme's family members, including her guardians Bob and Jen Smith, were present in court and were seen wiping away tears as the charges were read.
"Mr. Patterson has wanted to enter a plea since the day we met him," his attorney said. "He has always been consistent in his statements and belief that this is what he wants to do."
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Patterson's lawyers asked the court to dismiss a fourth count of armed burglary, which the judge agreed to toss out.
Before Patterson walked out of the room, he turned to the cameras and said, "bye, Jayme."
Nutter went to the home of her neighbors, Kristin and Peter Kasinskas, who then called 911.
Jayme has since been reunited with her family. In February, the teenager and her family released a statement to the Associated Press saying the support she has received from everyone has "been a source of great comfort to her."
Earlier this month, Patterson sent a letter to NBC News affiliate KARE apologizing and revealing his plans to enter a guilty plea so Jayme and her family would not have "to worry about a trial." He also called a reporter with WCCO saying that he loved Jayme and detailed how they watched television, played games and "cooked a lot" during the almost three months he held her captive.
"The reason I did this is complicated," Patterson wrote to KARE reporter Lou Raguse, who had sent him questions about the kidnapping. "No one will believe or can even imagine how sorry I am for hurting Jayme this much. Can’t express it."
The outlet reported that Charles Glynn, Patterson's lawyer, would not confirm or deny the letter and said he had not talked to his client about it.
When asked about his motivation behind the kidnapping, Patterson responded that it was "not black and white."
"The cops say I planned this thoroughly, and that I said that," he wrote. "They’re really good at twisting your words around, put them in different spots, straight up lie. Little mad about that. Trying to cover up their mistakes I guess. This was mostly on impulse. I don’t think like a serial killer."
Patterson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for murder and 40 years for kidnapping, the judge said.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.