Florida Inmate Released Due To COVID-19 Arrested One Day Later For Murder

Brittany M. Hughes | April 15, 2020
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A Florida inmate who got a get-out-of-jail-free card thanks to concerns over the coronavirus is back behind bars after authorities say he murdered a man just one day after being released.

Joseph Edwards Williams, 26, was among the 163 “low-level” prisoners released from the Hillsborough County Jail in Tampa earlier this month to try and keep the coronavirus from spreading among inmates and corrections officers in overcrowded detention facilities. Williams had been arrested on March 13 for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

But on March 20 , just a day after being released, law enforcement said Williams shot a man to death. He’s now been re-arrested and charged with second-degree murder with a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, more heroin and drug paraphernalia charges, and resisting an officer with violence.

The Hillsborough Sheriff’s Department said that including these charges, Williams has been arrested for 35 charges in total throughout his criminal career.

“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. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.nEvery murder, every violent crime, especially those involving a gun, is a sickening example of the worst in our community, especially at a time when the community is working to relentlessly fight against the spread of this deadly COVID-19.”

Williams is now being held in the same jail from which he was originally released, except this time on a no-bond status.

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