Serial Cat Killer Faces 16 Years in Prison | NBC Chicago
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Serial Cat Killer Faces 16 Years in Prison

If convicted on all counts, Robert Farmer can spend more than 16 years in prison.

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    A 25-year-old man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to torturing and killing nearly two dozen cats that he stole from the streets of a San Jose neighborhood. Rick Boone reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016)

    A 25-year-old man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to torturing and killing nearly two dozen cats that he stole from the streets of a San Jose neighborhood.

    Having pleaded guilty to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty, Robert Farmer, if convicted, faces more than 16 years in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis. 

    Farmer and his attorney made the last minute decision in court, just before new evidence was set to be added in the cases again him. Details of Farmer's plea agreement weren't immediately known.

    "As this sad case comes to a close, our thoughts are with the families who lost their beloved pets," Ellis said in a statement. "We intend to hold Mr. Farmer accountable for his perverse and violent acts.”

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    In court on Tuesday, Farmer displayed no emotion and didn't speak or apologize to the victims.

    However, the pet owners are not relieved.

    They do not plan to let Farmer off the hook just because he admitted he's guilty. In fact, many have taken to Facebook to urge the judge to sentence Farmer to life in prison, asking supporters to sign onto "Justice for our CATZ." So far, the group has 232 members. 

    "Farmer just took our sense of safety because he took it from our front yard," said Miriam Petrova. 

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    Petrova's 17-year-old cat, named Go-Go, was one of Farmer's first victims.

    "We never found Go-Go's body," she said.

    Investigators said Farmer rounded up the cats, that were sometimes mutilated and abused, from Cambrian Park over two months last fall. Surveillance video captured Farmer in the act as he chased and picked up Go-Go, leading police to him. 

    When police arrested Farmer as he slept in his car on Oct. 8, 2015, they also found a dead orange tabby in the car. Police also discovered other cat collars in the vehicle.

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    A year later, however, only four of the animal's bodies have been recovered.

    Farmer was hit with additional charges in July.

    The new charges stemmed from missing cats, and DNA of those cats allegedly found in Famer's car and clothing. The prosecutor called it the Jane Doe approach, where a body has not been found, but DNA links a suspect to a missing person who is presumed dead.

    Farmer is expected back in court on Dec. 8.