Chris Watts update: His prison buddy committed similar crimes
Chris Watts is currently serving consecutive life sentences for murdering his pregnant wife, Shanann, and his two daughters, Bella, four, and Celeste, three. Shanann was fifteen-weeks-pregnant with their son, Nico.
Before the murders, Chris Watts was having an affair with Nichol Kessinger, a woman he worked with. As Watts’s marriage fell apart, it’s unclear whether he premeditated the murder, or if he snapped when Shanann said she wanted a divorce. Either way, he will serve the rest of his life behind bars.
While adjusting to life in prison, Chris Watts apparently made friends with a young man convicted of attacking a family. Who is this man and how did Watts form a friendship with him? Let’s find out.
The Closs murders
Jake Patterson had no idea who the Closs family was when he broke into their home in Wisconsin in October 2018. It didn’t stop him from kidnapping thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs and killing both her parents, James & Denise Closs.
The kidnapping was brutal – Patterson shot James Closs with a shotgun and broke down a bathroom door where Denise & Jayme barricaded themselves. He shot Denise and dragged Jayme out of her home.
Patterson held Jayme Closs for eighty-eight days before she could escape. “I watched his routine and I took back my freedom,” Jayme Closs wrote to the court when Patterson was sentenced, describing her escape. He pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and to kidnapping.
In a statement to the court, Jayme Closs wrote about the parents and the sense of safety Jake Patterson robbed from her. “They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever. I felt safe in my home, and I loved my room and all of my belongings. He took that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet,” Judge James Babler told Jake Patterson before his sentencing, calling him “the embodiment of evil” and saying “the public can only be safe if you are incarcerated until you die”. Babler sentenced Patterson to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole in 2019.
Reading Bible passages together
In prison, Patterson wrote that he fantasized about kidnapping hundreds of girls and shooting their parents. Via a news report from KARE 11, Patterson wrote the only thing stopping him from committing his crimes was the fear of Hell. When he stopped believing in God, he acted out his fantasy by killing the Closs family and kidnapping Jayme Closs.
In his new book about Chris Watts’s time in prison, The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder, John Glatt reveals the friendship formed between Chris Watts & Jake Patterson. Watts & Patterson met in Bible studies, as both men became deeply religious after entering prison.
Glatt details Chris Watts became a mentor to Jake Patterson while inside. Watts & Patterson were placed in neighboring cells at Dodge Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. Cindy Watts, Chris Watts’s mother, told Glatt Patterson that Chris would read Bible passages every evening and “spend hours discussing them”.
The Perfect Father
Per Cindy Watts, Chris Watts advised Patterson, who was twenty-three when he was sentenced, to get control of his anger. “When they’d go out for rec, other prisoners would start yelling at them and Patterson would start yelling things back. Christopher told him, ‘Don’t do that. Just calm down.’”
Glatt also wrote that per Cindy, Chris Watts keeps pictures of Shanann, Bella, and Celeste on his cell walls and spoke to them at night. He wrote Celeste a letter on her birthday and had his parents read it at her gravesite. He described himself as Celeste’s “safe haven” despite having murdered her and thrown her body in an oil drum.
Both Chris Watts and Jake Patterson will remain in prison for the rest of their lives. Although Patterson was transferred to New Mexico, the two stay in touch.