DENVER, Colo. (KFOR) – The U.S. Appeals Court has ruled against Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” in his efforts to reduce his 21-year sentence for a murder-for-hire conviction against big cat rival Carole Baskin.
“I think he is exactly where he belongs and it’s such poetic justice that he’s now being kept in a cage about the same size as the ones that he bred so many of those big cats to live in for their entire lives,” said Baskin.
Baskin told News 4 she now feels safe, after the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms Joseph Maldonado-Passage’s 21-year prison sentence.
In 2018, The former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park, in Oklahoma, was federally indicted on two murder-for-hire counts, against Baskin, a rival big cat activist.
One count, was for hiring a hitman. The other, was for working with an undercover FBI agent.
In August of 2022, Joe Exotic’s attorneys argued the counts should be grouped together, knocking off 8 years.
“The court said, explicitly to me, asked whether or not he could run counts one and counts two consecutive or concurrent,” said Molly Parmer, an attorney for Maldonado-Passage. “You can’t run them consecutively because it will violate due process.”
In an animated Youtube video, Joe Exotic said it was a waiting game.
“Then I guess we’re going to sit around and wait for awhile until we get a decision then we have to wait for it to get back on the docket So I can get back to Oklahoma and probably just get screwed over again,” said Joe in the video.
On December 23rd, the Appellate judges affirmed Maldonado-Passage’s sentence. The judges said the two plots had the same goal in mind but should be punished separately.
According to the court documents, the judges said “Although, they shared a common target, evidence indicates the hitmen shared little else.” They added that the hitmen “received different instructions at different times: and they had entirely separate rewards.”
Baskin told News 4 there have been many hits on her life by other alleged animal abusers.
“Most of them are a whole lot smarter than Joe Exotic. I think he was just the easiest for them to capture and put behind bars,” said Baskin.
Now she hopes those involved in these two hits will also be brought to justice.
“I really hope they all end with the same kind of justice that sees them living out the rest of their lives in cages,” said Baskin.
Baskin told News 4 she doesn’t believe Joe Exotic’s attorneys are finished.
“I would hope that it was over but I sincerely doubt that, because what else has he got to d but have people file all kinds of nonsense,” she said.
News 4 reached out to two of Joe Exotic’s attorneys. One declined to comment and directed us to the other, who we did not hear back from.