CALIFORNIA – The San Jose man who stole, tortured and killed 21 cats over a year ago and a whole lot of people who have been closely following the case should learn next month when he’ll be sentenced and whether he’ll eventually have to register as a sex offender.
On Jan. 26, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sharon A. Chatman officially ordered Robert Roy Farmer, 25, to return to court on March 2, when a sentencing date will probably be set. Probation department officials, in the meantime, will receive mental health evaluations of Farmer and recommend a sentence by then.
Farmer has been in custody at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas since back in October of 2015 when San Jose police found him sleeping in his car in Cambrian Park with a dead cat at his side.
He was promptly arrested and pleaded guilty last year to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty plus one count each of misdemeanor battery and being under the influence.
According to a necropsy report, the orange female tabby found in his car died of blunt force trauma and may have also been sexually abused. Crime laboratory results showed a dead match between DNA found on the cat’s claws and Farmer.
Because of that particular evidence, Farmer might be required to register as a sex offender, according to Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis.
“The people have asked the court to consider 290 registration, which is sex offender registration,” Ellis stated to a small crowd of people outside the courtroom after Farmer’s appearance. “The standard is a preponderance of the evidence, of whether the crime…was sexually motivated in nature. It is an issue that is left entirely up to the court, and that’s just something (Chatman’s) going to have to decide.”
Owners of the cat victims and their supporters, who had hoped a sentencing date would have been set last week, have indicated frustration by the latest delay.
“The reason it’s taking so long for probation to make a recommendation is there are so many sentencing laws at play,” Ellis stated. “Proposition 57 was recently passed, we have realignment that was passed, so all of those things actually affect all of the different ways that he can be sentenced.
“They have to take that into consideration when they’re making their recommendation and also should be prepared,” she added. “For instance, if the judge declines 290 registration, (probation) has to be prepared about what they think should happen in that event, so they’re going to have to make multiple recommendations.”
Miriam Petrova, whose cat GoGo was recorded on video being taken by Farmer from her front porch and still hasn’t been found, said she was “grateful for the support” from the community and wants Farmer to be registered as a sex offender.
“I hope so,” Petrova noted in an interview. “It’s because he needs to be registered for something. It’s our only hope.”
Farmer’s next court date is at 9 a.m. March 2, where he could face up to 16 years and four months in prison.