LAUREL — Victims of Sean Robinson’s serial cat murders in Laurel were finally terminated after being sentenced in Billings State District Court on Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, everyone thought the sentence was appropriate. It was not what I expected. I expected more heartbreak and I was very happy with how it turned out,” Mindy Bausch, a victim of Robinson’s crimes, told MTN News on Wednesday.
Between March and June 2021, Robinson admitted to killing about 10 to 12 neighborhood cats or cats in his care.
Robinson was sentenced to 10 years in the Department of Corrections on five aggravated felony counts of animal cruelty.
Prosecutors were able to prove that five of these cats were murdered by Robinson, but did not have enough evidence to convict him for the other five to seven cats.
Ten years for five cats means every cat murdered by Robinson has added 10 years to their sentence
The Bausch family cat, Hobo, disappeared from their yard one night after the family volleyball game was over and they went to dinner.
Bausch tells MTN News that Hobo didn’t even like being outside and would never walk away from himself.
But Hobo never came home.
“I printed flyers, we posted them everywhere, my kids went door to door, talked to all the neighbors, no one had seen it,” Bausch says.
Bausch already had Robinson on his radar after seeing a suspicious Facebook post about him accusing him of animal abuse.
But it wasn’t until another neighbor told Bausch she saw Robinson near the irrigation ditch near the Laurel Golf Course that she made the connection.
Bausch says she didn’t know Robinson lived in her neighborhood. But once she spoke with a neighbor, she and her husband tracked down Robinson’s house.
Bausch’s husband confronted Robinson but said he only communicated through his Ring doorbell.
Bausch says Robinson said he watched the family play volleyball in their yard and didn’t know where their cat was going.
It wasn’t until authorities served a suspicious drug prohibition warrant on Robinson’s residence in June 2021 that authorities uncovered evidence of the animal cruelty crimes.
Robinson admitted to robbing and strangling Hobo and told authorities he left his body near the irrigation ditch.
But Hobo’s death was far less gruesome than that of Robinson’s other victims.
Court documents say investigators found pools of blood, cat hair, “fresh flesh” and corpses of deceased cats.
Another victim, Sharon Luloff, told MTN News that Robinson contacted her after she posted a message to rehome two family cats.
Luloff explains that her mother and stepfather died nine days apart in 2021. She and her sister were tasked with cleaning their mother’s house and finding a pair of mother-daughter cats that were part of their family. family for 16 years.
“When he came, I stopped him in front of the house and said, ‘If you have bad intentions with these animals, I don’t even want you to come inside,'” Luloff explains. “He looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘No, they’ll have a good home. “”
But Robinson lied. He had made the pair of mother-daughter cats his victims.
Although Luloff is happy that Robinson was convicted, she thinks this crime deserves a much worse sentence.
“I just hope they change the laws and make them tougher, especially for someone who has mental health issues,” says Luloff.
And Luloff’s opinion is echoed by Bausch.
“He was sentenced to two years in prison for killing Hobo… It’s just a shame that Hobo’s life was only worth two years,” Bausch explains.
Ingrid Rosenquist, the prosecutor handling the case, also believes that while Robinson was given the maximum sentence, these crimes deserve a much heavier sentence.
Rosenquist provided MTN News with this statement on the sentencing:
“Judge Harris’ sentence will hopefully provide some measure of closure to the families of the victim cats. My office is grateful for the bravery these families have shown in facing Mr. Robinson during the determination of sentence to help ensure he is held accountable for his actions.
This case highlights the inadequacy of Montana’s animal cruelty laws. When an individual, like Mr. Robinson, who stalked, stole, mutilated and serially killed neighborhood cats, is considered a non-violent offender. In addition, the Department of Correction’s maximum 2-year incarceration for the aggravated animal cruelty charge severely limits prosecutors in their ability to protect society from individuals such as Mr. Robinson. I hope the next Montana legislative session will seek to resolve this issue,” Rosenquist wrote.
Robinson’s defense argued in court that he suffered from severe PTSD due to his military service, coupled with childhood abuse, led to his committing these crimes.
But his victims don’t buy him.
“There are a lot of people that these things have happened to, there are a lot of people with PTSD, a lot of people who were abused as children, and they don’t kill cats,” Bausch says. “They don’t dismember animals and electrocute animals. They don’t do those things.
Prosecutors said in court papers that help was offered to Robinson, but he did not follow advisers’ recommendations.
“Defendant had the opportunity to participate in several community programs, including the CAMO treatment court which he successfully completed prior to committing these offences,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
The victims hope that this sentence will allow Robinson to change, but also fear that he will return to his old ways once released.
“I think he was a bit relieved to know that help was coming. But that doesn’t take away from the pain he caused so many people in such a horrific, horrific crime over and over again,” Luloff says.
In addition to the 10-year sentence for his animal abuse crimes, Robinson will also have to serve an additional 10 years in prison for unrelated drug charges.
“I hope he can get the help he needs, I don’t think that will ever be enough. I hope my family is safe whenever he comes out,” Bausch said. “He will come out, and he will be in society, and people will see him again. I just hope the right people are watching.”