Man Released from Jail Amid Coronavirus Concerns Arrested on Murder Charge

Joseph Williams, a Florida prisoner who was released from jail because of concerns nationwide over the spread of coronavirus in correctional facilities is arrested on a murder charge, according to CNN. 

The 26 year old, is back behind bars and facing a second-degree murder charge along with resisting an officer with violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was previously convicted of two felony offenses including burglary of an unoccupied conveyance in 2012 and felon in possession of a firearm in 2018, in addition to five misdemeanor convictions.

Williams was originally arrested March 13 for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia, according to court records. He was one of more than 100 inmates released March 19 to curb the spread of the virus in detention centers and protect inmates and staff.

A day after being released, the sheriff’s office says, Williams became the suspect of a murder case.

“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,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.

“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.”

On March 20, police investigated reports of gunshots in a Tampa neighborhood and found an unidentified man shot and killed, authorities allege that Williams was involved in his death, according to WFLA.

Williams was arrested Sunday. Court records show Williams is being held in jail without bond.

“Judges, prosecutors, and Sheriffs around the country are facing difficult decisions during this health crisis with respect to balancing public health and public safety,” said Chronister. “Sheriffs in Florida and throughout our country have released non-violent, low-level offenders to protect our deputies and the jail population from an outbreak.”

Throughout the course of his criminal history, Williams has been arrested for 35 charges in total, according to the sheriff’s office.

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About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

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