Jake Patterson pleaded guilty Wednesday to kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering the 13-year-old’s parents.
The Barron County judge said a plea deal was struck between the state and the defense the day before the hearing.
Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree intentional homicide and a separate count of kidnapping. The plea deal took other possible charges off the table.
Patterson looked back and smiled at his father and sister who were sitting in the gallery as he entered the courtroom. The gallery was in for a surprise.
“I was informed yesterday there may be a plea agreement is that true?" the judge asked.
"It is true your honor," Patterson's attorney said.
Patterson’s attorneys said they tried to get him to reconsider or delay the decision.
“We’ve talked to Jake about options including a court trial, a jury trial, we’ve talked to him about motions, change of venue,” public defender Charles Glynn said.
Patterson’s defense said he wants to give up his right to a trial. Patterson told two Minneapolis TV stations that he doesn’t want Jayme and her family to have to go through a murder trial.
“Mr. Patterson has wanted to enter a plea from the day we met him,” Glynn said.
The plea deal means an armed burglary charge will be dropped and no charges will come from crimes Patterson allegedly committed in Douglas County. That’s where he confessed to keeping Jayme in a cabin for nearly 3 months. Jayme escaped in January.
When the judge asked for Patterson’s pleas, his mood started to change and emotion came pouring out.
Patterson sobbed as he said, “guilty” to the three felonies.
As Patterson left, he looked back at the gallery and yelled, “Bye Jayme." Patterson claims he still loves the 13-year-old.
Both Jayme’s and Patterson’s families were in attendance and declined to comment after the hearing.
Despite the plea deal, Patterson will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. He’s due back in court on May 24 for sentencing.