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Joe Exotic to be resentenced, but murder-for-hire conviction stands

Joe Exotic to be resentenced, but murder-for-hire conviction stands

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March: Tiger King (copy)


OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court has thrown out Joe Exotic's 22-year prison sentence in his murder-for-hire case.

In a colorful opinion, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that he must be resentenced because of a mistake by his trial judge.

The three-judge panel upheld the conviction of the former Oklahoma zookeeper who became widely known after the Netflix "Tiger King" series.

Joe Exotic — whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage — is being held at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth.

A jury in 2019 found the former big cat breeder guilty of twice trying to have his chief critic, Carole Baskin, murdered. The jury also found him guilty of crimes involving his zoo animals, including illegally killing five tigers with a shotgun.

U.S. District Judge Scott Palk sentenced him last year.

"Despite what you may believe, you are not the only in-step person in an out-of-step world," the judge said during the sentencing in Oklahoma City federal court.

After the pandemic hit, Joe Exotic became known worldwide from "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," a Netflix documentary series about his life, case and now-closed private zoo in Wynnewood.

-- The Oklahoman


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