“Tiger King” Joe Exotic was in court Friday for resentencing for his murder-for-hire conviction.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was convicted of trying to hire two different people to kill animal welfare activist Carole Baskin, The Associated Press reported.
Update 12:42 p.m. EST, Jan. 28: Maldonado-Passage was resentenced to 21 years in prison, only one year less than his original sentence of 22 years that had been handed down for the conviction, the AP reported.
Maldonado-Passage had requested to be released from prison.
His fans were in the courtroom wearing animal-print masks and shirts that read “Free Joe Exotic.”
The court heard testimony from Baskin who said that she thinks he will threaten her again.
“He continues to harbor intense feelings of ill will toward me,” Baskin said, according to the AP.
Original story: He was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years behind bars, but a three-judge panel for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the conviction should have been counted as one since both murder-for-hire plots targeted one person, Baskin.
Guidelines for the charges suggest a 17 1/2-year to 22-year prison sentence, the AP reported.
Baskin, who runs a Florida big cat rescue, had spoken out against Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of animals at his zoo.
Prosecutors said Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill the woman. Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys said he was not serious, the AP reported.
In addition to the murder plot, he was also convicted of killing five tigers, selling cubs and falsifying records. Defense attorneys are asking for a lesser sentence than what guidelines call for because of “imperfect entrapment, sentencing manipulation and outrageous government conduct,” the AP reported.
Maldonado-Passage is being held at a federal medical center in North Carolina after he said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Last month, he said he would delay treatment until after his resentencing hearing, the AP reported in December.
The saga between Maldonado-Passage and Baskin held the attention of many people who watched it unfold on Netflix’s series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
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