TAMPA, Fla. - The man who calls himself "Joe Exotic" is going to prison for trying to hire a hitman to kill an animal activist in the Bay Area.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in federal prison for the murder-for-hire plot against his intended victim, Carole Baskin, as well as animal abuses.
Carole and her husband were there for the sentencing in Oklahoma. Thursday, they joined FOX 13’s Cynthia Smoot to talk about their long ordeal and what the sentencing means to them.
Although this chapter has an ending, the story is not over, Carole feels.
“We were never going to be safe as long as this man was on the street,” Carole Baskin said.
But Joe Exotic is not her only concern.
“He's one of just a handful of people, but I think he was the dumbest one, the one that they actually caught. It's the rest of them that still have me looking over my shoulder all the time,” she said. “I think the other people in his industry are much smarter, much wilier and are less likely to leave a trail of evidence to themselves and those are the people who scare me the most.”
Still, the Baskins hope Maldonado-Passage’s 22-year sentence will deter others who would do harm to animals or humans.
I think the sentence is going to have a certain chilling effect,” said Howard Baskin. “The judge, as he explained the sentence and got to the wildlife charges, said the wildlife charges were also extremely important and specifically said he hoped the sentence would be a deterrent to other people in the industry.”