Judge sentences California man accused of torturing, killing cats

This is an undated image of a cat that was allegedly killed by San Jose man Robert Farmer

This is an undated image of a cat that was allegedly killed by San Jose man Robert Farmer

A man who pleaded guilty to stealing, torturing and killing 18 cats in San Jose, California, was sentenced Friday to 16 years in county jail. Many in the audience cried as owners read victim-impact statements.

Last year, Farmer pleaded guilty to 20 counts of felony animal cruelty, one count of attempted felony animal cruelty, one count of simple battery and one count of using or being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Miriam Petrova described her easygoing 17-year-old orange tabby "Gogo" before being tortured to death. In an interview previous year, Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis said surveillance video helped detectives track the suspect down, "Our hearts go out to the families that were affected by this crime, and we look forward to Mr. Farmer being held accountable for these heinous acts", she said.

"Robert Farmer is a danger to society".

Back in the fall of 2015, Farmer abducted and killed as many as 16 cats from the Cambrian Park Neighborhood. "She sentenced him to 16 years, we can only hope it is long enough", she said.

The county's probation department recommended nine years, accompanied by intensive post-release counseling and supervision.

"He likes to hurt living things", Chatman said.

The conflicting accounts triggered a debate about whether Farmer should be required to register as a sex offender when someday released from prison. Residents pointed police to Farmer.

Farmer was found sleeping in a auto with a dead cat curled up inside the vehicle in October 2015. Crime laboratory reports also stated a match was discovered between Farmer and DNA found under claw clippings. He also must undergo psychological treatment, including taking any psychotropic drugs that are prescribed, as well as stay 100 yards away from the Cambrian Park area; specifically zip code 95124. Because of Farmer's antisocial personality disorder diagnosis by a court doctor, she urged the judge to consider mental health reports that stated he had a "profound lack of empathy and remorse" for his crimes and "significant anger" toward his family. Ellis argued that Farmer's molestation of the dead cat was sexually motivated but Schroeder proffered other theories. It's a case that's been closely watched by animal rights advocates across the country.

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