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Florida man, 26, ‘commits murder’ a DAY after being released from jail early to prevent coronavirus

Florida man, 26, ‘commits murder’ a DAY after being released from prison early to help prevent the spread of coronavirus

  • Joseph Williams, 26, was arrested for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia March 13
  • Hillsborough County released 164 low-risk inmates on March 19 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus among jailers and staff
  • March 20 police were called to the scene of 8000 block of Ash Avenue in Tampa where a man had been shot dead  
  • Police arrested Williams for second-degree murder on Monday
  • Williams has 35 charges on his rap sheet including a conviction for burglary of an unoccupied conveyance in 2012 and felon in possession of a firearm in 2018
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Joseph Williams, 26, was arrested for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia March 13 but on Monday he was locked up on no bond on suspicion of murder

A Florida man has been arrested on suspicion of a murder committed just one day after he was freed from jail to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Joseph Williams, 26, was initially booked into Orient Road Jail on March 13 for possession of heroin (less than four grams), a third-degree felony, and possession drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor.

But on March 19 Williams was one of 164 inmates deemed low-risk who was allowed to leave custody following the issuance of Administrative Order 2020-018 which allows people to go free early to decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19 in crowded facilities.

He left the Hillsborough County jail at 8.02am but by 10.40pm the next day, police were called to the scene of 8000 block of Ash Avenue in Tampa where a man had been shot dead.

Williams is believed to be responsible for the second-degree murder. 

‘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. ‘As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.’

Just days after Williams entered jail, Chronister had said at a media briefing they were releasing more than 100 inmates for the safety of fellow jailers and staff.

Early release is a move that jails around the country have opted for to slow the spread of the virus.

By Wednesday morning there were 21, 628 confirmed cases in Florida and 571 deaths. Florida is deemed one of the hotspots in the United States where there were 615,302 cases and 26,114 deaths.

Hillsborough County released 164 inmates on March 19 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus among jailers and staff

Hillsborough County released 164 inmates on March 19 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus among jailers and staff

But on March 20 police were called to the scene of 8000 block of Ash Avenue in Tampa where a man had been shot dead

But on March 20 police were called to the scene of 8000 block of Ash Avenue in Tampa where a man had been shot dead

‘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.

‘Judges, prosecutors, and Sheriffs around the country are facing difficult decisions during this health crisis with respect to balancing public health and public safety.

‘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. Our commitment as an agency is to keep this community safe and enforce the law.’

Records show that Williams has an extensive rap sheet. He has been arrested for a total of 35 charges in the past.

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.

While on last month’s drug charges Williams was issued a bond of $2,500 and was eligible for release, now he’s back in jail on a no bond status.

'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,' Sheriff Chad Chronister said. He is pictured last month announcing the release of jailers

‘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,’ Sheriff Chad Chronister said. He is pictured last month announcing the release of jailers



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk