An alleged serial cat killer who was found sleeping in his car with a dead cat appeared in court in San Jose, California, ABC 7 News reported last night. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Robert Ray Farmer, 24, was charged with harming or killing at least four cats, and there may be even more victims.
The courtroom was packed to capacity yesterday during Farmer’s arraignment on three felony animal cruelty charges, one charge of misdemeanor battery against a person, and one charge of attempted animal cruelty. Many of the seats were filled with people whose cats are believed to be victims of a serial cat killer.
According to investigators, Farmer was found sleeping in a car last week with a cat who had recently been killed. Farmer was arrested, and the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported yesterday that tipsters and surveillance footage were pivotal in this arrest. According to Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis, Farmer is suspected in numerous pet thefts and killings this autumn; it is unclear at this time how many victims there are.
Ellis stated: “The victims that Mr. Farmer targeted were speechless victims. They couldn’t help us with this investigation.”
During yesterday’s arraignment, people tearfully held photos of cats that had been found dead – or who were still missing. One cat owner had to leave the courtroom when she loudly protested Farmer’s motion to be released on his own recognizance, and other cat owners concurred with her concerns.
“I do not want to see this guy loose. I think he’s a danger to people too,” stated local resident Mary Crowder. Crowder’s concern certainly has merit: Numerous studies have shown an established correlation between animal abuse and crimes against human victims. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), those who commit violent crimes against nonhuman animals are more likely to commit violent crimes against humans than those who don’t hurt animals.
The judge apparently shared these concerns, rejecting Farmer’s motion and imposing a bail of $75,000. During a time when many alleged animal abusers are released with a slap on the wrist, the judge in this case imposed a bail that is higher than average for a crime against animals.
Local resident Myriam Martinez was particularly upset about the case. “You know what, cats are just as human. And I’m just really upset,” she stated. Martinez’s beloved cat was one of the animals whose bodies have been recovered; the cat was reportedly died from blunt force trauma.
Pet owner Miriam Petrova still holds onto a thread of hope, as her cat, GoGo, remains missing, but she’s devastated that he was stolen. “What happened, and why?” she asked.
Petrova’s 17-year-old cat, GoGo, had been missing from his home for one day. When Petrova viewed the footage from her property’s security cameras, she was stunned by what she saw. The footage, recorded on Sept. 21, depicted a car making a U-turn and then stopping near her cat. “GoGo was lying here, and you can see a man walk up and grab him,” Petrova stated. “He was so sweet that I don’t understand how anyone can do that.”
As of this writing, GoGo remains among the missing. He’s a long haired orange cat who currently has a “lion” cut. He is loved and very much missed.
Pet owner Janice McKimmie is grieving the death of her cat, Beardsley, 15. The beloved cat had been missing for several days when McKimmie found him. There’s no question, in her mind, that her cat was murdered.
“He was found in a box with plastic around him, and rocks on top of the box,” she said. Disturbingly, Beardsley’s body was found in the same neighborhood where GoGo was stolen from – and McKimmie doesn’t think that this is a coincidence. “There has to be a connection – we have a predator,” she stated.
After a veterinarian performed a necropsy, it was determined that Beardsley also died from blunt force trauma, just as Martinez’s cat did. While Beardsley was wearing a collar when he disappeared, it was absent from his body when he was found.
Petrova, who still holds out hope for her beloved GoGo, was present in court yesterday. She stated: “I can’t look at him. He was so bad. GoGo is still missing. We don’t know what happened to him.”