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.
Robert Roy Farmer, who pleaded guilty past year to 21 counts of animal cruelty as well as misdemeanor battery and being under the influence, lured some of his prey from their homes in San Jose, California.
Dr. Sharon Ostermann, a veterinarian for San Jose Animal Care and Services, testified in a pre-sentencing hearing that "Tabby Doe" turned out to have injuries consistent with post-mortem sexual assault.
Shocking footage captured by a security moment showed the moment that Farmer grabbed a 17-year-old ginger tabby from her owner's front porch. Prosecutors say he tortured and killed as many as 16 cats in the Cambrian Park neighborhood over a two-month period in the fall of 2015. 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.
The case took a shocking twist when a necropsy report from Animal Services found signs of sexual abuse on the orange female tabby cat inside the auto, including dilated genitals. "Living in a vehicle with feces, blood, urine, fur, and decomposing cat parts- what a mess", said Wesley Schroder, reading Farmer's statement.
Owners of cats killed by San Jose man say maximum sentence not enough
The conflicting accounts triggered a debate about whether Farmer should be required to register as a sex offender when someday released from prison. Ellis also argued Friday that Farmer presented a "phenomenal risk" of re-offending.
"He likes to hurt living things", Chatman said.
"The judge did everything she could possibly do", said Olena Klingman. "The entire veterinary community doesn't study it and so it's not a piece of evidence I can put on your side of the scale".
Throngs of people crowded outside the courtroom in anticipation of the long-awaited sentencing.
Animal lovers in the audience were pleased with Chatman's decision, including that she took pains to list every cat by name, from "Does" 1 through 11, to others including Angel, Gogo, Rayden, Thumper, Jupiter, Traveler and Tiger. "Now the only image burned in our minds is GoGo running for his life" on camera as Farmer chased after him.