MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Attorneys for the man accused of kidnapping a Wisconsin teenager and killing her parents say his confession could be a problem in his defense.
Jake Patterson told investigators he broke into the home of 13-year-old Jayme Closs in October, gunned down her parents and abducted her. He said he took her to a remote cabin, sometimes hiding her under his bed for hours, until she escaped last week.
Richard Jones and Charlie Glynn are Patterson’s public defenders. In an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday, they said everyone wants to know why Patterson kidnapped Jayme.
“There will come a time in this proceeding when that question will be answered,” Jones said.
WCCO-TV learned Patterson filled out an online job application to work at Saratoga Liquor Company in Superior, Wisconsin just hours before Jayme escaped. Patterson described himself as “an honest and hardworking guy … who show(s) up to work,” and is, “a quick learner.” The 21 year old wasn’t considered for the night warehouse position due to lack of experience. The business made the connection after Friday’s press conference when Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald announced Jayme’ escape.
“Jayme is the hero in this case, there’s no question about it,” Fitzgerald said. “She’s the one who helped break this case.”
The criminal complaint filed Monday details Patterson’s confession of killing James and Denise Closs and kidnapping Jayme on October 15. In it, a deputy reports seeing a maroon car while responding to the original 911 call.
Patterson told investigators he pulled over while deputies sped by. Sheriff Fitzgerald told WCCO-TV Wednesday they didn’t release information about that car early in the investigation because the deputy wasn’t certain what kind of car it was or the year. It’s now among evidence in Barron County, and Fitzgerald said if dashcams caught Patterson driving the car that October night, it will come out as part of the court process.
Officials in Douglas County, where Jayme escaped, are looking at filing additional charges against Patterson. That will be decided before his next court hearing on February 6.
Patterson’s defense attorneys said they face an uphill struggle because their client gave detectives a thorough confession. Going forward, the duo will look at those statements and figure out whether or not Patterson gave them voluntarily and if they are valid.
Glynn and Jones also tell the AP it will be tough to get a fair trial in Barron County. The county has a population of 45,000, and about 20,000 people took part in a ground search for Jayme while she was missing in October.
Patterson is due back in court on February 6 for a preliminary hearing. This is an important date for the defense because that’s when the state must establish probable cause.