A 21-year-old man has been accused of killing the parents of a 13-year-old girl he abducted.
If convicted, Jake Patterson, a resident of Wisconsin in the United States, risks life sentence.
According to Online reports, he is being tried for charges bordering on kidnapping and intentional homicide.
Patterson had pleaded guilty to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs after murdering her parents in Barron County, Wisconsin.
The accused confessed that he committed the crimes on October 15, 2018; and that he randomly chose the victim after seeing her get on a school bus.
He didn’t state any motive for his crimes.
Prosecutors said he shot the girl’s parents at close range, and subsequently held her for 88 days.
Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Prosecutors say he faces a maximum of life imprisonment for each of the two homicide counts, along with up to 40 years in prison for the count of kidnapping.
Patterson had no previous criminal record in Wisconsin.
“The crime traumatized the close-knit community and the sentencing is a milestone in its recovery,” said Barron County School District superintendent, Diane Tremblay.
“It’s huge,” said Tremblay, who worked with investigators during the search and comforted Closs’ classmates.
Patterson, who was kicked out of the U.S. Marines after five weeks, carefully planned the crime. He visited the Closs home twice before pulling into the driveway in the early hours of October 15.
Closs alerted her parents to the intruder and she and her mother hid in a bathroom. Her father, James, went to investigate.
Dressed in black with a face mask, Patterson shot the father through the front door with a shotgun, according to the criminal complaint.
He broke down the bathroom door, bound the girl with duct tape, then shot her mother. He put Closs in the trunk of his car and drove to his cabin in Gordon, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Barron, according to Police.
Patterson, described by people who knew him as quiet and a good student, kept Closs locked in his room and barricaded her under his bed when he had guests, according to court documents.
On January 10, when Patterson left the cabin, the girl escaped. A dog walker found her, neighbours called 911 and Police arrested Patterson shortly after.
Wisconsin lawmakers honored Closs as a “hometown hero” on May 15.
“Jayme, your strength, your resolve and your bravery is beyond incredible,” said her state representative, Romaine Quinn.
“You are truly an inspiration and a bright light in a time of sadness.”