Howard and Carole Baskin at the airport

Sentencing Statement

The conviction of Mr. Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage was made based upon only a handful of vivid examples of his malicious intent to murder me.  The prosecution didn’t need to present the daily barrage of threats to harm, rape or kill me that were my daily experience for the past ten years. 

The evidence showed that over the course of many years, he has tried to coerce others into killing me, and in the end, resorted to hiring others to kill me.  If he had succeeded in carrying out his murderous plan, you might be calculating now, what the value of my life had been. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I’m able to stand before you today, and ask you to consider all that he was able to take from me.

Because of his constant threats to kill me, I have found myself seeing every bystander as a potential threat.  There is no where that I have felt safe, and worse, no way that I feel I can safeguard those around me. So many of his threats involved blowing me up, so that he could thrill over seeing me burn to death.  Even from jail he gleefully talks about the prospect of me dying a fiery death. Anyone near me; my daughter, my husband, my mother, my staff and volunteers have all been in peril because of his obsession with seeing me dead.  I live with the guilt associated with the danger, that my mere presence brings to each of them.

There are two important things the court might not know from the trial.  The first is important because I believe Mr. Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage will claim ill health to minimize his sentence.  In the 15 years I’ve known him, as a way to get sympathy he’s repeated claimed to be victim of various diseases including cancer and worn a knee brace and cane he clearly does not need. The second thing is that over the years numerous people who worked at his zoo contacted us, after they left the zoo and told us that every single day he would rant about me. They all characterized him as obsessed.

As you consider his sentence, I would just like you to take into account that if this vicious, obsessed man is ever released from jail, my life and my family’s lives, will return to what it was like during the decade leading up to his arrest. If he completes his sentence and is released, we will end up spending the rest of our lives, constantly looking over our shoulders, for a threat to our lives. I hope you will give us as many years free of that threat as you can.  Thank you.

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for two murder-for-hire charges and 17 wildlife trafficking charges.

Justice was served and we were particularly pleased with the emphasis the judge put on the wildlife charges and on using this sentence as a deterrent to others. I am greatly relieved that Joe Exotic, who I feel is a vicious, obsessed man, can no longer harm innocent people or animals. I am concerned that his associates; Jeff Lowe, “doc” Antle, Mario Tabraue, Tim Stark, Bill Meadows and others are people, who I believe to be much more wiley and dangerous, will try to silence me so that I cannot speak out against speed breeding big cats to use their cubs as pay to play props. – Carole Baskin

Note to the media: Feel free to quote from this page and use the videos or photos. To see the network of breeders and dealers that we feel should be investigated for their dealings with Joe Exotic see:


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