Florida Inmate Released Over Wuhan Coronavirus Concerns Allegedly Committed Murder the Next Day

Posted: Apr 15, 2020 8:30 AM
Florida Inmate Released Over Wuhan Coronavirus Concerns Allegedly Committed Murder the Next Day

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

As citizens are being ticketed and arrested for attending drive-in worship services or playing with their kids in a park, many actual criminals have been released from prison over concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus.

So, how has that turned out? 

A Florida man who was released from prison last month allegedly killed a man one day after being released. He was arrested Monday in Tampa and was charged with second-degree murder, and faces felony charges for firearm possession and resisting arrest.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirms 26-year-old Joseph Edwards Williams was arrested on a warrant Monday night in Gibsonton.

They say he is connected to a March 20 shooting homicide in the Progress Village area. Deputies responded at 10:40 that night to several 911 calls about gunshots fired near 81st Street South and Ash Avenue. A man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Online jail records show Williams had been released from custody at 8:02 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 per an administrative order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the county jails. The sheriff’s office says he was one of more than 100 inmates released from custody until trial. (CBS17.com)

“There is no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement, reports CBS17.com. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”

Williams had been arrested March 13 for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. 

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The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office had released 164 inmates that had been considered nonviolent, low-level offenders. 

“Every murder, every violent crime, especially those involving a gun, is a sickening example of the worst in our community, especially at a time when our community is working relentlessly to fight against the spread of this deadly COVID-19,” Chronister said.

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