Judges have ruled that “Tiger King” Joe Exotic should have been given a shorter prison sentence.
The former zookeeper was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin and violating wildlife laws.
A three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, should get a shorter prison sentence.
Maldonado-Passage, who is known as the subject of the popular Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, argued that the court should have treated him – and the other man found guilty of the murder-for-hire plot – as one conviction at sentencing.
The panel agreed that the court wrongly treated them separately in calculating his prison term under sentencing guidelines because they were both involved the same plot to kill Ms Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida.
According to the ruling, the court should have calculated his advisory sentencing range to be between 17.5 years and just under 22 years in prison, rather than between just under 22 years and 27 years in prison.
The court ordered the trial court to re-sentence Maldonado-Passage.
However, his appeals attorney Brandon Sample said he could possibly receive an even lower sentence than the range cited in the ruling because the court has to consider other factors too.
Meanwhile, another attorney representing Maldonado-Passage, John M Phillips, hinted at the possibility of seeking a new trial.
Mr Phillips said in a statement he would be filing motions citing previously undisclosed and newly discovered evidence in the case as well as examples of government misconduct.
“People should know what they saw on television isn’t the full truth. It isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. It was snowflakes on the tip of the iceberg, largely manufactured by those who wanted to see Joe Exotic in jail for their own benefit,” he said.
Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records.
His supporters were disappointed that former president Donald Trump failed to issue him a pardon before leaving office.
They were so confident in his chances that they had readied a celebratory limousine and a hair and wardrobe team to whisk him away from prison.
In his pardon application, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys argued that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others.
They also said the former zookeeper “will likely die in prison” because of health concerns.
Maldonado-Passage is serving his sentence at a medical prison in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nashville school shooting: First pictures emerge of victims of attack, including nine-year-old girl and headteacher
Images of four victims of a shooting at a school in Nashville have been released.
Six people, including three children, were all shot dead by Audrey Elizabeth Hale after the former student opened fire in the private Covenant School in the Tennessee state capital.
The six victims have been named as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, 61-year-olds Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce.
Pictures have so far been released of Mr Hill, Ms Koonce, Ms Peak and nine-year-old Hallie.
Video shows moment attacker was shot dead
Why tragedy could have been even worse
Hallie was the daughter of the pastor whose church runs the school.
The three adults were all staff, Ms Koonce was the headteacher, Ms Peak a substitute teacher and Mr Hill was a caretaker.
“We love the Scruggs family and mourn with them over their precious daughter Hallie,” Park Cities Presbyterian Church senior pastor Mark Davis said in a statement.
“Together, we trust in the power of Christ to draw near and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”
The Covenant School in Nashville has about 200 students from preschool through sixth grade, as well as roughly 50 staff members.
Hale had a manifesto and detailed maps of the school, and entered the building by shooting through its doors and starting on a killing spree.
Video of Nashville school killer entering building released
What we know about killer Audrey Hale
Police chief John Drake said: “We have a manifesto. We have some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this day, the actual incident. We have a map drawn out about how this was all going to take place.”
Officers started receiving reports of an attack at 10.13am (4.13pm UK time) and as police began clearing the ground floor of the school they heard gunfire coming from the second floor.
Two officers from a five-member team opened fire in response and fatally shot the suspect at 10.27am (4.27pm).
Hale’s motive for the attack is not yet known.
Nashville school shooting: Bodycam video shows moment attacker was shot dead by police
Graphic video has been released of the moment the Nashville school attacker was shot dead by police.
Audrey Hale, who identified as a transgender male and was a former student of the private Christian school, killed three pupils aged nine and three adults before being stopped.
Footage from Officer Rex Engelbert’s bodycam shows him opening fire with a rifle several times on Hale before the perpetrator falls to the ground injured.
Police then head towards the 28-year-old just a few metres away as officers shout “move, move”, and “watch out, watch out”.
The attacker, now on the floor, is hit by several more police gunshots before an officer yells to the suspect “stop moving, stop moving”, with the killer appearing to be still alive as one of their arms moves.
An officer screams “throw your hands away from the gun, get your hands away from the gun”, while another says “suspect down, suspect down”.
Hale’s body is then shown lying next to the weapons, including a rifle, the assailant used in the deadly Monday morning attack on the second floor of the Covenant School in Tennessee.
A second clip shows what happened from a different angle with footage from Officer Michael Collazo’s bodycam. He is shown firing his pistol at Hale in the second volley of shots after the suspect was already on the ground.
Minutes earlier, the officers had stormed the building as video showed several going from empty classroom to empty classroom before making their way to the second floor.
Multiple gunshots are heard in the footage as officers run down a hallway – past what appears to be a victim – and into a lounge area, where the suspect is seen dropping to the floor after being shot.
Police said the suspect was killed after a confrontation with officers.
What we know about killer Audrey Hale
Video of Nashville school killer entering building
Why Nashville tragedy could have been even worse
The start of the six-minute police video shows Officer Engelbert retrieving a rifle from his car boot before a member of staff directs him to the entrance, telling him that the school is locked down but at least two children are not accounted for.
“Let’s go! I need three!” the officer yells as he uses a key to unlock a door and enter the building, where alarms can be heard ringing.
Hale was described by officials as a “lone zealot”, who lived in Nashville, and was armed with two assault-type weapons, and a handgun.
Hale had a manifesto and detailed maps of the school, and entered the building by shooting through its doors before the killings.
Police have also released video of the moment the attacker entered the school.
The six victims have been named as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak and school custodian Mike Hill, both 61, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, who was the headteacher.
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