According to court opinions filed on Wednesday, Joseph Maldonado Passage, who was called Joe exotic in the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness,”, will be sentenced again. He was sentenced to 264 months in prison last year on charges of murder involving the hire of animal rights activist Carole Baskin and multiple violations of wildlife.
Maldonado-Passage has filed an appeal, arguing that her murder conviction should be dropped because the court of first instance allowed Baskin to participate in the entire trial even if she was one of the witnesses listed by the government.
He also argued that his two charges for using an interstate facility to commit a murder conspiracy for hire should be combined because they “involved the same victim and two or more acts or transactions that were connected by a common criminal objective,” according to opinions.
The team upheld the conviction of Maldonado Passage and found that the district court decided to allow Baskin to remain in court as a victim of the crime. However, the panel ruled that the district court “erred by not grouping the two murder-for-hire convictions at sentencing.”
Maldonado-Passage’s appellate counsel told CNN he is “pleased with the appellate court’s decision” in a statement.
“I knew when I agreed to represent Joe that an appeal would be difficult, but I also knew that the law was on Joe’s side,” attorney Brandon Sample said in a statement. “I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe — and his eventual freedom.”
The Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma has been contacted for comment. The “Tiger King” star was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.
Maldonado-Passage was found guilty by a federal jury in 2019, nearly a year after the launch of the Netflix show, which documented his rise and fall as the owner of an exotic animal park in Oklahoma. Since his murder for hire was not grouped by the sentencing judge, his sentencing guidelines increased from 210 months to 262 months to 362 to 327 months, and the Court of Appeal held that this should not have happened.
As an outspoken critic of Maldonado Pass Animal Park, he owns a tiger sanctuary in Florida and has previously received a million-dollar sentence against him. During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Maldonado Pass paid a man $3,000 in travel expenses. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma, from Oklahoma to Florida Kill Baskin and promise to pay thousands of dollars after his death.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Maldonado Passage has been trying to find someone to kill her since July 2016, and unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent to discuss the details of the planned murder. In June 2020, following the Maldonado Pass ruling, a ruling granted Baskin control of Oklahoma Park.