The cats all went missing in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose in the autumn of 2015.
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.
A letter by him, read out by his lawyer, said: "It feels like another man committed these crimes, but I know it was me".
Prosecutors had asked for Farmer to register as a sex offender based on evidence that he allegedly sexually assaulted a cat found in his vehicle.
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The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to 20 counts of animal cruelty. I stole a member of their family. Some turned up dead, including two that were found in a skip, but others have never been found.
While prosecutors believe Farmer killed up to 16 cats, they were only able to locate four feline bodies. The fact that I was out of my mind was no excuse'.
"We are disappointed that the judge did not" require Farmer to register as a sex offender, Goodson said, "but we understand her reasoning, though we may not necessarily agree with it".
Miriam Petrova described her easygoing 17-year-old orange tabby "Gogo" before being tortured to death.
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It is unclear whether anyone in California has had to register for sexually abusing an animal, but Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Ellis had argued that the judge had the authority to make that decision. He was found sleeping in his auto in October that year with a dead cat in the centre console and chunks of fur elsewhere in the vehicle.
Several blood stains were found in Farmer's vehicle, as well as the remains of one of the cats, when he was arrested in October, 2015. One time she said Farmer hit her grandson in the face, unprovoked, and on another occasion he shot the same boy in the leg with a pellet gun.
The conflicting accounts triggered a debate about whether Farmer should be required to register as a sex offender when someday released from prison. Conditions of his probation include staying away from Cambrian Park, not owning or caring for any animal for 10 years and undergoing mandatory psychological treatment.
Numerous owners whose cats fell victim to Farmer read statements in the courtroom expressing their grief and outrage before he was sentenced.
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"We finally can say goodbye to every cat that was involved in this tragedy", Petrova said.