Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, the subject of the wildly popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness that detailed the raconteur animal handler’s role in a murder-for-hire plot against rival animal-rights activist Carole Baskin, is getting resentenced for the crime.
A ruling Wednesday in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver did not vacate Exotic’s 2020 conviction on two counts of hiring hitmen to murder Baskin, for which he was sentenced to 22 years in prison as part of a litany of charges that included wildlife crimes.
But the three-judge panel ruled that the original trial court improperly treated the murder-for-hire counts as separate rather than as one, after hearing arguments from Exotic’s lawyers.
The judges ruled to “affirm his conviction but vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing,” which could possibly lead to a lesser sentence under the revised guidelines.
Exotic (per the court documents known as “Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joseph Allen Maldonado, aka Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, aka Joe Exotic) is a self-described “gay, gun-toting, redneck in Oklahoma” who specialized in tiger shows at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and even ran for Oklahoma governor in 2018 all while feuding with Baskin, even accusing her of killing her husband who has never been found.
Exotic has been serving his sentence in Fort Worth, TX, and famously along with supporters publicly lobbied then-President Donald Trump for a pardon which he did not receive.
Several Hollywood projects sprouted from Tiger King’s success, including a Peacock limited series starring Kate McKinnon as Baskin and John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic. Just today, Amazon Prime Video opted not to proceed with a scripted series starring Nicolas Cage.