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In three-minute court appearance, Patterson bound over for arraignment in Jayme Closs case

Jake Patterson

BARRON, Wis. — The Douglas County man accused of killing a Barron couple and holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for nearly three months waived his right to a preliminary examination Wednesday morning.

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, of Gordon, appeared briefly Feb. 6 in Barron County Circuit Court. He is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary.

Patterson is accused of fatally shooting 56-year-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs inside their Barron home on Oct. 15. He allegedly kidnapped 13-year-old Jayme Closs and held her captive inside his residence for 88 days before she managed to escape Jan. 10.

Shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Patterson smiled, nodded his head and did his best to wave in the direction of his family seated in the front row of the gallery as he entered the small courtroom.

It was the first time Patterson has appeared in person, though the hearing lasted all of three minutes. His initial appearance, at which bail was set at $5 million, was held by video feed from the adjacent jail.

Defense attorney Charles Glynn informed Barron County Circuit Judge James Babler that his client was waiving his right to hear testimony Wednesday. Patterson answered a series of yes-or-no questions from the judge, affirming his decision.

Under Wisconsin rules of criminal procedure, the purpose of a preliminary hearing is for a judge to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the defendant to proceed to trial. Prosecutors must show probable cause that the defendant committed the crimes with which he is charged, generally by calling an investigator to testify to basic evidence collected in the case.

Babler found Patterson’s waiver to be entered “knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily” and ordered him bound over for trial. Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright filed a document known as an “information,” formally acknowledging he would proceed with the four felony counts as originally charged.

The judge scheduled arraignment for March 27 at 1 p.m. Patterson will be required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at that time.

It is not unusual for defendants to waive the preliminary examination, in part due to the fact that there is a relatively low burden for the state to establish probable cause to move the case forward. And in Patterson’s case, the evidence allegedly includes a detailed confession.

Patterson told investigators he decided to abduct Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus as he drove to work, according to a criminal complaint filed last month.

The defendant allegedly confessed to investigators that he immediately "knew that was the girl he was going to take" and spent several weeks planning every detail of a crime that would leave no evidence behind.

The complaint alleges that Patterson shaved his head, purchased a mask and made modifications to his car before taking Jayme from her Barron home in the dark of night on Oct. 15. He allegedly shot each of her parents, James and Denise, once in the head after forcibly entering their home.

The complaint states that Patterson took Jayme in the trunk of his car to his home, 14166 S. Eau Claire Acres Circle, and regularly required her to hide under his bed, barricaded by storage bins containing barbell weights, whenever he had visitors over or needed to leave the residence.

Jayme escaped Jan. 10, approaching a neighboring cabin owner for help. According to court documents, she told investigators she was left alone and was able to push the tote bins away, putting on a pair of Patterson’s shoes and running for help.

Patterson was stopped and arrested nearby. He told investigators he had returned after a few hours away and, upon finding Jayme missing, went out in search of her, according to the complaint.

Patterson faces mandatory life sentences on each of the homicide charges, up to 40 years for kidnapping and 15 years for burglary.

He continues to be held in the Polk County Jail.