Joe Exotic was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Friday, after a judge ruled that he tried to kill Carole Baskin. The former “Tiger King,” was previously sentenced on Jan. 2020 to 22 years in prison, but the TV star argued that he should be released from prison following his recent cancer diagnosis.
“Please don’t make me die in prison waiting for a chance to be free,” Joe told a federal judge.
Last year, Joe Exotic won an appeal that allowed for his re-sentencing. His lawyers argued that the original judge had made an error when calculating how long Joe Exotic would be in jail. A federal court agreed that Exotic’s two murder-for-hire plots against Carole Baskin should have been counted together instead of separately because they both had the same goal, killing Baskin.
The TV star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was also charged with eight counts of faking wildlife records and nine counts of killing and selling tigers, which are considered endangered animals.
After his recent sentencing, Joe Exotic’s lawyers told the media that they were unhappy with the judge’s ruling and would continue to fight until Joe Exotic was out of prison. “The defense submitted a series of attachments that showed excessive government involvement in the creation of the offense for which he’s been convicted,” attorney Molly Parmer said. “We are going to continue our post-conviction litigation, but we did preview for the court the evidence we have through our post-conviction investigation.”
Other people displeased with the 21-year sentence include Joe Exotic’s fans, many of whom were in the court room during the sentencing. According to reports, some wore leopard printed masks and t-shirts that said, “Free Joe Exotic.”
Joe Exotic became famous back in 2020 after a Netflix series called Tiger King premiered. The show documented Joe’s strange life as the owner of a wildlife zoo in Oklahoma. The 58-year-old owned a zoo full of tigers and lions, and had an outstanding feud with Carole Baskins, who owned her own wildlife sanctuary and was very critical about Joe’s treatment of the animals.
Carole testified in both of Joe’s trials and recently said that she still gets threatening letters from the inmate and believes that he still wants to harm her. Carole also said that she thought the judge’s re-sentencing was appropriate for Joe’s crimes.
“I think the judge was fair, and I believe 21 years to be, just for someone who was convicted of trying to hire at least two people to kill me,” she said. “I believe the tigers he bred for life in prison, or worse, would be satisfied to know he will continue to spend his next many years in a cage.”
According to reports, Joe Exotic tried to hire two different people to kill Carole Baskin back in 2017. One of them happened to be an undercover FBI agent. The first time, Joe paid someone $3,000 to travel from Florida to Oklahoma and kill Carole. When that failed, he offered to sell some tiger cubs in order to pay the second assassin, who ended up being an undercover cop.
During a December 2017 meeting with the undercover cop, Joe Exotic offered $10,000 for the murder. In a recording, he told the assassin to “just like follow her into a mall parking lot and just cap her and drive off.” His lawyers later argued that the TV star was joking. During both of his sentencings, Joe Exotic told the court that he is innocent of all charges.