'Tiger King' Joe Exotic Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison in Murder-for-Hire Case

Joe Exotic isn't getting out of prison anytime soon. According to the Associated Press, Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, has been resentenced to 21 years in prison on Friday. The Tiger King star was convicted in a murder-for-hire case involving Carole Baskin, This comes after an appeals court ordered a new sentence, and Exotic will now spend one less year in prison.

The Associated Press says that Exotic was resentenced after a federal appeals court ruled last year that improper sentencing guidelines were used. Exotic is accused of hiring two people to kill Baskin, who'd criticized his treatment of animals. There were several supporters in the courtroom showing support for Exotic by wearing t-shirts that said, "Free Joe Exotic." 

The court also heard from Baskin who said she was fearful that Exotic could threaten her. "He continues to harbor intense feelings of ill will toward me," she said. Exotic is currently battling prostate cancer, but the former Oklahoma zookeeper said he was dealing treatment until after his resentencing. 

Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2020 after his conviction. At the time, prosecutors said that Exotic offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Basking during a recorded meeting in December 2017. During the meeting, Exotic said, "Just like follow her into a mall parking lot and just cap her and drive off." Exotic's attorneys said their client wasn't being serious. 

Exotic was also convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. In a sentencing memorandum, Exotic's attorneys said, "From decisions made in the initial stages of the investigation to charging decisions to overzealous sentencing recommendations, one thing remains clear: this case was about doing whatever it took to put Mr. Maldonado-Passage behind bars for as long as possible."


Tiger King premiered on Netflix in March 2020 and became a huge hit. The second season premiered in November 2021 received negative reviews, receiving 19% by Rotten Tomatoes. In an interview with The Sun in July 2021, Exotic said, "I'm very disappointed that they turned this all about sex, drugs, and mayhem. But we have a lot to expose and we have a lot to talk about and I want the truth to come out and I would finally like to be able to tell my story."