‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic and his murder-for-hire plot conviction back in 2018

July 04 2021 12:00 am

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — He’s become a household name in just one week, as millions of people stay home to binge watch television.

However, some may not remember that a key plot point in the “Tiger King” documentary series happened right here on the Gulf Coast. Joe Exotic, the central character of the Netflix show, was arrested for a murder-for-hire plot in Gulf Breeze in 2018. The plot is the central theme of the show.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was found guilty of trying to hire two different people at different times to kill one of his most outspoken critics, animal activist Carole Baskin. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.


A zookeeper originally from Oklahoma known as “Joe Exotic” was arrested Friday in Gulf Breeze accused of paying someone to try and kill an animal rights activist.  A news release from the Department of Justice says Joseph Maldonado-Passage, AKA “Joe Exotic” “hiring an unnamed person in November 2017 to murder “Jane Doe” in Florida.  According to the news release, Maldonado-Passage gave the unnamed person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to South Carolina and then to Florida to carry out the murder,” according to the news release.

The release goes on to say  Maldonado-Passage also asked a second person to carry out the murder for money.  That person that informed the FBI.  The news release does not identify the target of “Joe Exotic’s” alleged plot but the Washington Post says the intended victim was Carol Baskin, the head of an animal sanctuary in the Tampa area.  The post says Baskin was a frequent critic of Maldonado and he fired back in a video posted online.  


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