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Will Joe Exotic be freed? ‘Tiger King’ to be resentenced in Carole Baskin murder-for-hire plot

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On Wednesday, July 14, a district court ordered Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic, to be resentenced for the murder-for-hire plan targeting animal activist Carole Baskin. 

A federal appeals court upheld the television star’s sentence, but tossed out his 22-year prison verdict and ordered a redo, citing a flaw in the way a lower court judge calculated the amount of time. The ‘Tiger King’ star, was convicted in 2019 on 21 counts: Two for hiring hitmen to kill Baskin, and 19 counts of wildlife crimes. In 2020, he was convicted to 22 years in prison. Joe Exotic appealed the decision on two grounds: first, he argued that the court failed to allow Baskin to attend the entire trial because she was also serving as a witness and could have changed her testimony after attending the hearings. He also claimed his two murder-for-hire convictions were incorrectly separated, arguing that district court guidelines require the two counts to be assorted together since the same victim was involved and because the acts were related to the common criminal objective of murdering Baskin.

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While the court supported the decision to allow Baskin to attend the proceedings, writing that it was her right to do so as a victim of his crimes, they agreed with Exotic that the court should have grouped the two murder-for-hire convictions. So if the court would have grouped the two counts, his total offense level, a metric used in sentencing, would have fallen from a 39 to a 37. The sentencing range for a 39 is 262 to 327 months, while the sentencing range for a 37 is 210 to 262 months. So the court should have sentenced Exotic to somewhere between 17 and a half years and just under 22 years in prison, rather than between just under 22 years and 27 years in prison.

According to the court guidelines, counts must be grouped if three provisions are met: the same victim is involved in the counts, two or more acts or events are involved with the counts and the acts or transactions are related to “a common criminal objective.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic (Santa Rose County Jail)

 

“Although the district court apparently thought that the two murder-for-hire plots shared a common criminal objective, it mistakenly (although quite understandably) thought that grouping would not be proper unless they were also part of the same course of conduct,” circuit judge Harris Hartz wrote in a concurring judgment. “This error in interpreting the guidelines requires reversal.”

According to a CNN report, Exotic’s appellate counsel said that he is “pleased with the appellate court’s decision” in a statement. “I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe and his eventual freedom,” attorney Brandon Sample said.

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Crime & Tragedy

Mark Redwine: Dad killed 13-yr-old son after boy found pics of him in women’s underwear eating feces

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COLORADO: A 13-year-old was reportedly killed by his father after he found ‘compromising’ photos of him eating feces from a diaper while wearing women’s underwear. The murder trial of Mark Redwine, 59 began on June 21. Prosecutors claimed in the opening statement that Mark ‘flew into a rage’ on the night of November 18, 2012, when his teenage son Dylan might have mentioned or shown him his ‘compromising pictures’.

Mark Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death of Dylan. In similar incidents of child abuse and murder, an Arkansas father was convicted of murdering his six-year-old son by sexually assaulting him with a stick. He was sentenced to death in November 2016. In June 2021, a Tennessee father was found guilty of murdering his autistic, nonverbal toddler son in 2018. A Florida father and son were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide on May 21, after the child’s mother had alerted authorities requesting the child be removed from the father’s care.

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Prosecutor Fred Johnson said in his opening statement, “A damaged relationship, exposed with compromising photographs, photographs in the hands of a 13-year-old who is disgusted by it, which triggered a violent rage in the defendant.” During Thanksgiving 2012, Dylan disappeared from Redwine’s Vallecito home during a court-ordered visit. According to the Denver Post, the boy’s remains were found by 2013 and 2014. Johnson further mentioned that prosecutors intend to prove that Redwine killed Dylan in his living room and then dumped his body off a trail near his home. Afterwards, he misled the investigators for months to cover up his crime. Traces of Dylan’s blood were found in Redwine’s living room and his body was found without his wallet or backpack.

Redwine’s public defender, John Moran, argued that Dylan had no interest in visiting his father and suggested he could have been attacked by a bear or mountain lion after running away, claiming a tooth mark was found on his skull. He further said that Dylan had previously confronted him (Redwine) about the fetish photos during a cross-country trip. There was no way the prosecutors will be able to prove a connection between Dylan’s death and the photos. Moran said that the photos “come from deep within Mark’s private life.” “If the prosecution could find an expert to say people who do that are more likely to kill their child, that information would be given to you … Mr Redwine did not kill his child,” he added. Moran also noted that no evidence tied his client to the boy’s death.

“Mr Redwine, in addition to being innocent, lost everything. He lost it all, and now he sits here with this demand for wrongful conviction, ” Moran said. According to KUSA, Redwine worked as a trucker in Washington when he was arrested. Dylan’s older brother, Cory, who previously claimed he saw the sordid images of his father as well, called for ‘justice’ in his brother’s death in November 2020. Cory wrote on Facebook, “Dylan needs strength from more than just us and I can’t begin to explain how much every single person that knows his story is a part of that! Every day a kid is forgotten by the legal system and that is not ok!!”

The trial was postponed after multiple delays in the case. It is expected to last until mid-July, with testimonies to start on June 22.

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514

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Crime & Tragedy

Chris Hamburg: Serial road rager filmed by TikToker trying to run car off road

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RANTOUL, ILLINOIS: A serial road rager was finally arrested, months after harassing numerous drivers, thanks to one TikTok user. Chris Hamburg was recorded by user Kaleb Moore attempting to run Moore’s friend’s car off the road. The incident quickly went viral, with other users also complaining that they were victims of Hamburg, leading to his eventual arrest on August 25. It appears Hamburg has troubled man drivers in his beat-up van and is now facing charges of disorderly conduct.

Despite facing threats of bans, TikTok has proved to be a vital source for people to out anti-social Americans. On August 17, TikTok user Lisette went viral after she was recorded ranting at gym users who came in front of her camera while attempting to record work out TikToks. Days before that, TikToker Heather Brown recorded a White woman grabbing her son, to block him from entering the community pool. We also reported on Denise Bradley aka Aunt Karen, who used her TikToks to out racist CEO Eileen Cure. 

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While most cases have just gone viral and led to public condemnation, Moore’s TikTok led the police to act, and arrest Hamburg after much public pressure. Reportedly, numerous people have been subject to Hamburg’s road rage, which Moore called “completely sickening”. In fact, he would’ve probably gotten away with it too, had he not ended up in the same motel as one of his earlier victims, who wasted no time in calling the cops.

Who is Chris Hamburg?

Beyond Moore’s TikTok and one local news story, there appears to be no information about Hamburg. Illinois Department of Corrections doesn’t appear to have Hamburg listed currently, so he is likely out on bail. Hamburg is reportedly charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor in Illinois that is punishable with jail time and/or a fine. It’s unclear where Hamburg is from, but he was taken to Vermilion County jail in Danville after his arrest. We also know he drives a white van, with one of the windows replaced with a piece of wood. 

One user on Facebook has created an account in Hamburg’s name and urged people to report him to the police. The account claims Hamburg is a “wanted pedophile and con artist”, who uses multiple names, and has several Facebook accounts. We could not verify this information, or the claim he is a “drifter”. The post also says Hamburg is from Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, again information we could not verify.

It’s unclear when Moore encountered Hamburg, but his video quickly went viral at the end of August. Moore was in the passenger seat when he noticed Hamburg, who was “way ahead” pull to the side of the road. Once Moore and his friend went by, Hamburg reportedly took pictures of their plates and followed them. “We stopped to let him pass which sent him into a road rage fit,” Moore explained. When asked if there is a problem, Hamburg replies, “Do you have a problem, b—h?”

A screenshot from Moore’s TikTok showing Chris Hamburg. (TikTok)

 

Moore’s friend attempts to speed up and get away, leading Hamburg to attempt to force them off the road. Hamburg then opens his door and yells “gonna beat your fucking ass,” even as Moore and his friend attempt to get away. Eventually, they do so, near a construction site. Moore then says in a TikTok video, “There were sightings in three towns around that area, including people giving away that same license plate number, the same description of the van, same description of the dude, same actions.” He reportedly received photos and videos from users of Hamburg’s actions, including one aunt who claimed Hamburg “chased” her nine-year-old niece. 

One of Hamburg’s many victims was Helene Ellis, who encountered the serial rager in July. According to Ellis, she passed Hamburg’s car in Brookhill Road in Rantoul, when Hamburg made a u-turn, followed her, and tried to hit the back of Ellis’ car. She posted about the encounter on Facebook, which led to more victims coming out. One day, Ellis ended up at the Super 8 hotel in Rantoul, where she noticed Hamburg’s car. Ellis promptly called the cops, who arrested Hamburg on August 25 and took him to Vermilion County jail. Following his arrest, Moore posted “thank you everyone who helped get this guy off the road” on Facebook. Moore also said there are additional warrants in Hamburg’s name in Idaho and Wyoming, and is “hopeful” additional charges are brought. 

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514

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Crime & Tragedy

Washington girl, 15, rams jogger with car to ‘scare him’, laughs about it as he dies

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MAPLE VALLEY, WASHINGTON: A 15-year-old girl from Washington state intentionally rammed a jogger with a borrowed car and sped off, killing him on the spot. Reportedly, the girl laughed while narrating the incident to a friend later.

Taking her godmother’s car without permission, Kasama Smith went 50 mph, which is 5 mph over the speed limit supposed to be maintained. Charges against the suspect say that she hit Greg Moore, 53, when he was jogging at about 6 am on July 18 on a street in Maple Valley. “I’m going to scare him, I’m going to bump him,” Smith reportedly told a passenger in the car.

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When the killing took place, a friend of Smith was following the Camry in another car. She reportedly heard a loud sound, and then saw “saw something fly into the air”, she told reporters. Hours later, Moore was found at the spot in a ditch in front of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, lying dead and without shoes.

Smith has been slapped with second-degree murder and hit-and-run charges. Moore’s wife is enraged that Smith is being tried as a teen and not an adult. “A family member (of the suspect) heard the individual laugh about the way Greg’s body flew up in the air when she hit him,” Michelle Moore said. She further said that since the car was doing 50 mph, calling the impact a “bump” is an understatement, and wrong. “It’s a ‘thrill kill’ is what it’s called,” Moore said. She had set up a website to find Smith, and offered a reward of $35,000. A GoFundMe page was created after the incident, and $41,291 was raised of the $100,000 goal when this report was published.

Greg Moore (second from right) with his family (whokilledgreg.com)

According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the case cannot be moved to adult court because of the accused’s age, and lack of a criminal record. “Even when juveniles are convicted as adults, Superior Court judges at sentencing can – and do in many cases – still follow the juvenile sentencing guidelines set by state lawmakers,” office spokesman Casey McNerthney told The Seattle Times.

Smith allegedly took her godmother’s car and killed Moore, but later lied to the car’s owner, claiming that she never even drove it. She said someone damaged the car with a bat. Reportedly, Smith spent several weeks following the murder in fear and concern, worried that friends might “snitch on her”. When Smith’s godmother watched surveillance footage of the car, she immediately recognized it as hers and approached the authorities. Smith, accompanied by her father, later turned herself in.

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