Tiger King’s Joe Exotic Resentenced to 21 Years in Prison After Murder-for-Hire Conviction

Joe Exotic
Sue Ogrocki/AP/Shutterstock

Prison time. While Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage) hoped for an early prison release amid his cancer battle, a federal judge resentenced him to 21 years.

“Please don’t make me die in prison waiting for a chance to be free,” the Tiger King alum, 58, tearfully told the court on Friday, January 28, the Associated Press reports.

Carole Baskin and her husband, Howard Baskin, also attended the hearing, in which the 60-year-old Dancing With the Stars alum claimed to be afraid of Maldonado-Passage if he was released. Carole noted that she allegedly received “vile, abusive and threatening communications” during his current prison stint.

Tiger King’s Joe Exotic Resentenced to 21 Years in Prison After Murder-for-Hire Conviction

Joe Exotic
Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

Maldonado-Passage’s lawyers attempted to argue for his early release amid his treatment for stage I prostate cancer.

“Doctors called me in today to break the news that my prostate biopsy came back with an aggressive cancer,” the former Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner announced his diagnosis via Twitter in November 2021. “Carole Will have her own party over this! Say a prayer everyone & be my voice.”

In the social media message, the former Oklahoma zookeeper penned a handwritten note, dated October 2021.

“What I need is the world [to be for] my voice to be released,” he wrote. “They have the proof that I did not do this and there is no reason for the U.S. attorney to drag this out so I can go home and get treatment on my own or enjoy what life I have left with my loved ones. Say a prayer please. Be my voice please.”

The Kansas native was previously convicted of 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder-for-hire after allegedly hiring to hitman to kill the Big Cat Rescue founder. Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2020, two months before the first season of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness aired on Netflix.

Amid Maldonado-Passage’s legal battle, the streaming platform aired a second season of the popular docuseries in November 2021. The five episodes highlighted his prison sentence and alleged innocence.

“If you give a damn, it’s time to speak up,” the Netflix personality said via a voiceover in the second season trailer, before footage showed fans as they cheered the “Free Joe Exotic” movement. He even alleged that he was “paying the price” while his Tiger King costars financially profited from his situation.

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