The case of the San Jose cat killer ended this week with a sentence to 16 years in prison for killing 21 cats and sexually abusing a dead cat. This PoC article from 2015 will give the readers a bit of background on the case.
On July 14, Robert Roy Farmer, 26 was credited for twice the 646 days he already served since his arrest on October 8, 2015, by Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Sharon A. Chatman.
As a sentencing condition, Farmer will not have to register as a sex offender upon his release. This was a major point of contention between Farmer’s attorney Wesley Schroeder and Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis due to no signs of a cat having been sexually assaulted when tested by a San Jose Animal Services and Care veterinarian, although the same veterinarian testified that sexual abuse couldn’t be ruled out a pre-sentencing hearing in May.
Schroeder stated on the topic of sexual abuse that “Doing something to the body in that area doesn’t necessarily indicate sexual motivation.” The torture charges couldn’t be applied because the legal system says you can’t torture a dead cat.
Farmer wrote a letter claiming he was out of his mind, which Ellis dismissed as manipulation because it contradicted his previous interviews with the police. Since Farmer has an antisocial personality disorder diagnosis by a court doctor, Ellis asked the judge to consider mental health reports stating Farmer had a “profound lack of empathy and remorse” and it was believed he’d escalate to harming humans in the future.
This case shows just how slowly justice for the cats has taken. In September 2015 cats started disappearing from the Cambrian Park area. Stories began to spread about a man trying to lure two cats into his backpack. One cat managed to escape and was treated by a veterinarian for a non-animal bite mark as well as a bleeding head injury.
Two cats were later discovered in a dumpster and a 15-year-old cat named Beardsly who belonged to Janice McKimmie was found dead wrapped in plastic inside a shoebox. Beardsley had been taken several miles from home and was missing his collar. Rocks were placed on the lid of the shoebox. Cambrian resident David Stine lost his cat the same day. Sixteen-year-old Chablis, an orange tabby, has never been found.
Farmer was identified using video footage from Mirian Petrova’s security camera as he grabbed a 17-year-old orange tabby named GoGo from Mirian’s front porch. GoGo was never found but the video enabled neighbors to work with San Jose police to identify Farmer.
There will be no early parole for Farmer. He received the maximum of 16 years without parole for the kidnapping, torturing and killing of 21 cats. He was arrested October 8, 2015, at a Home Depot parking lot near Hillsdale and Leigh avenues. Chunks of fur and blood were found in the vehicle along with a dead cat curled up in the center console. A backpack was found with a pair of fur-covered gloves and a hunting knife.
When DNA was tested on the blood, fur and other items found in the vehicle, the original charges of three counts of animal cruelty, one count of attempted animal cruelty, and one misdemeanor count each of battery and being under the influence, the number was increased to 21.
An elderly woman who allowed Farmer to stay in her home testified he tied her the back legs of her cat Angel and smacked it against the wall. Farmer also assaulted her grandson and shot him in the leg with a pellet gun. The grandson also said Farmer had discussed once what it would be like to kill a person.
The judge has ordered Farmer to stay away from cats for 10 years after his release and not to go near the 95124 Cambrian Park ZIP code area.
Petrova was waiting for the verdict to be handed down. In an interview with Mercury News she stated.
“It’s still painful to come home knowing GoGo isn’t waiting for us. Now the only image burned in our minds is GoGo running for his life” on camera as Farmer chased after him. GoGo never hurt anybody. And for you, Robert Farmer–what have you done to GoGo? Where is he?”
Throngs of cat advocates crowded outside the courtroom in anticipation of the long-awaited sentencing, many of them owners of the cats who fell victim to Farmer. Cats who were never found but whose owners know they’re dead.
There’s no real closure for the pet parents of the missing cats or the dead cats. The 16-year prison sentence is a good start in deterring those who wish to abuse helpless animals.
Follow Elisa on Facebook.