Inmate Released Over COVID-19 Fears Is Arrested For Murder Hours After He Got Out Of Jail

An inmate who was released from jail due to fears of coeronavirus spread has been re-arrested on a murder charge.

Deputies say 26-year-old Joseph Edwards Williams commited second-degree murder the day after he was released.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says Williams fatally shot a man near 81st Street South and Ash Avenue just hours into his freedom. He was previously arrested for possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

More than 150 inmates have been released in Hillsborough County.

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

“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.”

“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.”

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