- Joe Exotic will be resentenced after appealing his murder-for-hire conviction.
- The Tiger King star is serving a 22-year prison sentence for plotting to kill his nemesis, animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
- His attorney Brandon Sample said of the court's decision: "I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe — and his eventual freedom."
Tiger King star, Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, will be resentenced in the murder-for-hire plot he orchestrated.
The former zookeeper is serving a 22-year prison sentence for plotting to kill his nemesis, Carole Baskin, as documented in the wildly popular Netflix docu-series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
During the trial, Maldonado-Passage was accused of paying a man to kill the animal rights activist. He'd been plotting to kill his long-time rival since July 2016, according to the US Attorney's office, and unknowingly met an FBI agent with whom he discussed details of the murder.
Now, according to CNN, the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the star's prison sentence after he filed an appeal arguing the convictions should be overturned on the grounds that Baskin was allowed to attend his full trial even though she was listed as a government witness, and his two murder-for-hire plots should have been combined because they "involved the same victim and two or more acts or transactions that were connected by a common criminal objective" – as required by federal guidelines.
"We hold that the district court acted within its discretion by allowing Baskin to attend the full trial proceedings despite her being listed as a government witness, but that it erred by not grouping the two murder-for-hire convictions at sentencing. Accordingly, we affirm the conviction but vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing," judge Gregory Phillips said.
The court order will likely result in a shorter sentence for the Tiger King star, per The Guardian.
Attorney Brandon Sample representing Maldonado-Passage said: "I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe — and his eventual freedom."