SAN JOSE, California - After months of sentencing delays, there were mixed emotions on Friday afternoon as a judge gave a San Jose man the maximum sentence allowed after he admitted to stalking, kidnapping, and killing cats. It's a case that's been closely watched by animal rights advocates across the country.
Inside a Santa Clara County courtroom on Friday, victims of the accused cat killer shared their stories of heartbreak before a judge.
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"He will still be young when he's released," said one woman. "It's a terrifying thought to think of what could happen if he makes another mistake in his life."
Calling him a danger to society, a judge sentenced 26-year-old Robert Farmer of San Jose to the maximum term allowed -16 years in jail with credit for time served. This comes after he pleaded guilty to 20 counts of felony animal cruelty, one count of attempted felony animal cruelty, as well as two misdemeanors last year.
The crimes were committed during a two-month stretch in the fall of 2015 in San Jose's Cambrian Park neighborhood.
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Farmer was arrested by police after he was found asleep in his car next to dead cat. The defendant did not address the court, but instead wrote a statement that his attorney read on his behalf, blaming the use of meth for what he did.
"They have every reason to feel anger at me because I stole a member of their family," said attorney Wesley Schroeder, on Farmer's behalf.
Farmer won't have to register as a sex offender upon release, which the prosecutor had asked for.
VIDEO: Man accused of kidnapping, killing cats in San Jose
Man accused of kidnapping, killing cats in San Jose
"You don't have to be a human victim in order to matter," said Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis. "All crimes matter in this county, and we will prosecute all crimes to the fullest extent of the law."
For the families affected, along with advocates who have followed this case, Friday's sentencing was far from closure...
"We are the voice of the voiceless, we are the voice for our animals, and we will not tolerate animal abuse anymore," said San Jose resident Miriam Petrova.
Many are now trying to heal and move forward with their lives.
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