A federal appeals court is ordering a shorter sentence for “Tiger King” Joe Exotic
DENVER — A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that “Tiger King” Joe Exotic should get a shorter prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin. A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver found that the trial court wrongly treated those two convictions separately in calculating his prison term under sentencing guidelines.
Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records.
In his pardon application, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys argued that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others and said “he will likely die in prison” because of health concerns. He is serving his sentence at a medical prison in Fort Worth, Texas.