San Jose man convicted of abusing and killing 21 cats sentenced to 16 years in prison

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.


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San Jose man convicted of abusing and killing 21 cats sentenced to 16 years in prison — 16 Comments

  1. There’s a lot of controversy as well as to him not having to register as a sex offender when he gets out. Anyone who has the misfortune of living near him needs to know he possibly had sex with cats. In my opinion, children wouldn’t be safe around him. His wondering what it would be like to kill a human is also disturbing.

  2. Am I alone in thinking that 16 years in jail is a very long sentence for a case of animal cruelty. Very often we see much shorter sentences. Have I missed something? Is it the sexual context which has resulted in this very long sentence?

    • It says no parole but again I wouldn’t hold my breath. You would have to see the court documents and the full sentence. Were the charges aggravated ? I for one hope he dies in prison before our legal system demands he be released.

    • You are not alone…there have been similar cases where the perpetrator’s punishment was so negligible it makes you want to scream. When I first became aware of this case,in my own back yard as it were, I was gratified to find out that the law here allows for a stiffer penalty than in most jurisdictions. But from the victims’ families point of view nothing short of him being kept off the street for the rest of his life would be enough. Farmer was given the maximum sentence the law allows and I have not yet looked it up to see if the provisions are just for Santa Clara County or if it is for the state of California. The DA’s attempt to make an issue of the sexual abuse issue was for the purpose of holding him accountable after his release by having him registered at a sex offender so that his whereabouts would be known and it would then be much more difficult for him to just pick up where he left off somewhere else. I think his getting the maximum had more to do with the victims families dedicated, persistent pursuit of justice that never flagged and having a truly caring DA who did everything she could to make sure that was the case. I think the number of cats he victimized and the fact that he never showed any remorse whatsoever for what he had done was also noted by the judge. She made a point of mentioning in her decision that he had preyed on elderly, trusting beloved pets in an area where he had grown up, in essence betraying those who were known and not just some random victims. A psychological evaluation of him indicated he was an individual incapable of empathy. His father is a retired police Lt. and his mom was a teacher…they have never expressed remorse for his actions, either. There was no trial as he pleaded guilty early on (evidence was overwhelming) but his generally regarded as a scumbag attorney stalled and delayed the sentencing as long as possible. He tried to assert his actions were due to his substance (methamphetamine) abuse. The judge was a woman…whether or not that is a factor in her being more likely to feel compassion for what the victim’s families had suffered is unknown. Everyone was worried that the judge might find some rationale for showing leniency and handing down a less than maximum sentence, but she did not disappoint in that regard. I personally think she would have given him an even tougher sentence if possible.

      • I think the fact that the judge was a woman is significant. More empathy with cats and animals in general. I’d be surprised, shocked, if a 55 year old male judge came to the same decision regarding length of sentence. I am pleased.

  3. It’s about time that the courts and the legal system starting taking animal cruelty cases seriously. Police also need to take this seriously. What this person did to these cats is disgusting and heartbreaking.

  4. I am getting so so sick of the stuff i am see on feacbook its made me so made i am a cats lover if this don’t stop put about someone hurting cats and dogs i willl stop being on feacbook?

    • I agree that it is incredibly painful to see so many posts on FB about animal abuse and cruelty, but the phenomena of human cruelty towards other creatures will not go away just by removing such posts. As a cat rescuer of almost 30 years, I, too, love cats immensely, and I had no idea how rampant such instances of animal cruelty & abuse/torture/murder had become until I started a FB page for my rescue. More than one perpetrator has unwisely bragged about their acts of cruelty on FB and ended up being brought to justice, eventually, as a result. So, don’t be angry with those who bring such incidents to the attention of others…be angry with those who are the perpetrators and do everything you can to try and put an end to such a cavalier attitude about animal abuse. Sign petitions to object to it, contact your representatives in the government and urge them to support stiffer penalties and stronger laws to protect innocent creatures from humans who would harm them. Donate to groups that are trying to find ways to end animal abuse. And when you see people abusing cats or other animals, dong be silent. Just because it is out of sight will not make it go away.

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