"Tiger King" star Joe Exotic was resentenced to 21 years in prison Friday after a federal judge rejected his pleas to free him from prison, where he is serving time in a murder-for-hire case to kill his nemesis, animal welfare activist Carole Baskin.
The former Oklahoma zookeeper, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was resentenced after a federal appeals court ruling last year that he had been put in prison under improper sentencing guidelines, reports Fox News.
Maldonado-Passage and Baskin became nationally known in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when the Netflix show they were featured in, "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," became a breakout hit among people who had to stay home because of lockdowns.
He was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison after his conviction of trying to hire two different people to kill Baskin. However, a three-judge panel from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with him that the conviction should have been determined as one count, not two, because they had the same goal of killing Baskin, the owner of a big cat rescue in Florida, after she criticized his treatment of animals.
He was transferred to a medical facility in North Carolina this past November after he was diagnosed with cancer. His attorneys said he has been postponing his cancer treatments until after his sentencing.
According to the charges against Maldonado-Passage, prosecutors said he offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin.
In a recorded meeting in December 2017, the "Tiger King" star told the agent to follow Baskin into a mall parking lot and "just cap her and drive off."
His attorneys said he wasn't being serious, and he has continued to maintain his innocence.
Maldonado-Passage was also convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs, and falsifying wildlife records.
His attorneys argued in a sentencing document that he'd been entrapped and was the victim of "sentencing manipulation, and outrageous government conduct" in a case that "was about doing whatever it took to put Mr. Maldonado-Passage behind bars for as long as possible."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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