A week after a Florida man was released from jail as a preventative measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, he was arrested on charges including murder.
What We Know:
- Joseph Edward Williams was released March 19 – along with more than 100 other inmates — following the issuance of an administrative order aimed at lowering the risk of COVID-19 spread within the Hillsborough County jail, police said. Williams, 26, was being held there on $2,500 bond for felony and misdemeanor drug charges.
“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
- On March 20, police investigating reports of gunshots in a Tampa neighborhood found a man who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WFLA.
- Williams was arrested April 13 for second-degree murder, resisting an officer with violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said. A judge set bail at $250,000.
- “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 on outbreak.”
- Police said Williams has a long criminal history that includes felony burglary and drug convictions.
- “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.”
- The office of State Attorney Andrew Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Williams is being held in jail without bond.