Where is Joe Exotic today? His fight for freedom

Joe Exotic

Joe Exotic has been thrust back into the limelight following claims by Carole Baskin that her former husband, Don Lewis, is alive. Lewis vanished in 1997, and according to Exotic, Carole Baskin killed him – a claim he continues to peddle. On 19th January 2023, Exotic tweeted:

“If Don Lewis is Alive, I Will Voluntarily Go To Death Row – Carole had him declared dead 5 years after SHE reported him missing so she could collect the millions in insurance and his total estate. Reporters and the public need to put your crack pipes down and use common sense.”

Joe Exotic is in jail awaiting the outcome of his request for a new trial or Presidential pardon

Joe Exotic is serving a 21-year sentence on a murder-for-hire conviction. Exotic’s lawyers have petitioned for a new trial on the grounds of government misconduct and newly discovered evidence. 

If the trial judge grants his request, Exotic hopes to get a lighter sentence or an acquittal. If the judge denies the petition, he hopes President Biden will grant him a Presidential pardon. He wrote in an Instagram post:

“Well it seems that my stocking was empty again this Christmas, first by President Trump then by President Biden. And we all believed in Christmas miracles?”

Exotic last attempt to reduce his sentence failed in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Exotic’s attorneys argued that Joe’s two murder-for-hire convictions deserved one sentence because the target was one person. 

However, Judge Michael R. Murphy said that despite having one target, the murder-for-hire attempts were distinct enough to warrant two convictions and sentences. Murphy wrote:

“Although they shared a common target, evidence indicates the hitmen shared little else. [They] never communicated or worked together; they received different instructions at different times; and they had entirely separate rewards. Thus, the two hitmen represented two independently operating plots to kill Baskin,”

Murphy said the congressional intent for the law ‘aimed to treat separate murderous solicitations distinctly, even if there is but one intended victim’. Carole Baskin’s husband, Howard Baskin, told The Oklahoman that Joe deserved his 21-year sentence:

“Joe has shown no remorse whatsoever for his years of mistreating animals and for his proven attempts to have Carole murdered, continues to lie and blame others online, and belongs in prison for the full 21-year sentence in our view.”

Exotic is cancer free and maintains he never hired anyone to kill Carole Baskin

Joe Exotic has launched countless challenges against his conviction and sentence – most of them have failed. However, in early 2022, he enjoyed a minor court victory when a federal judge reduced his sentence by one year.

“Please don’t make me die in prison waiting for a chance to be free,” He said. Exotic had asked the court to slash his prison sentence because he required medical attention. Joe reportedly suffered from prostate cancer and a disease that compromised his immune system. 

Carole Baskin opposed the reduction of Exotic’s sentence, saying (per The Guardian), “He continues to harbor intense feelings of ill will toward me .” 

Court records show that Joe gave a zoo employee $3,000 to travel to Florida to kill Baskin, but they didn’t follow through. Joe then offered an undercover FBI agent $10,000 to ‘follow her [Baskin] into a mall parking lot and just cap her’. 

In an interview with Janna Clark of FOX23, Joe denied hiring anyone to kill Carole: “I just want people to know I’m innocent. And God knows how many other innocent people are in this system because the government is more concerned about a percentage of conviction rate than justice.”

Exotic told the outlet that he’s cancer-free and looking forward to regaining his freedom: “I’m holding on. I’m a fighter. I want to be proved innocent. I want to go start a new life and move past this. I’ve been through hell.”