Jury convicts 'Joe Exotic' on all charges - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Jury convicts 'Joe Exotic' on all charges

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Carole Baskin, left, and Joseph Maldonado-Passage (KTEN) Carole Baskin, left, and Joseph Maldonado-Passage (KTEN)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A federal jury on Tuesday convicted ex-Wynnewood zookeeper and former Oklahoma candidate for governor Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- in an attempted murder-for-hire plot.

Jurors began deliberating Tuesday morning in the trial of 56-year-old also known as "Joe Exotic," who was accused of trying to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, founder of a Florida animal sanctuary who had criticized his treatment of animals. Baskin wasn't harmed.

Maldonado-Passage was also accused of killing five tigers in October 2017 and selling and offering to sell tiger cubs.

He was convicted on all charges and now faces a possible sentence of more than 20 years in prison.

Maldonado-Passage had pleaded not guilty and testified Monday that although disagreements with Baskin spilled over into his social media posts, he never wanted her dead.

Defense attorneys said they would not be making a statement or comment on the jury's decision.

Maldonado-Passage used to operate a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. He ran unsuccessfully for Oklahoma governor last year as a Libertarian.

KFOR-TV reporter Lili Zheng in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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