Many inmates around the country have recently been released from prison in a response to controlling the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. One Florida inmate apparently didn’t appreciate his newfound freedom because just hours after he was released, he allegedly killed someone.
@People reports, Florida authorities arrested 26-year-old Joseph Edward Williams once again on March 20th in Tampa due to a second-degree murder charge. Williams was one of over 100 inmates that had been released from jail on March 19th to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to a recent press release from Florida’s Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to his release, Williams was initially arrested on March 13th on charges of possession of heroin (less than four grams)—which is a third-degree felony—and possession of drug paraphernalia that is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. He had been eligible for release prior to the spread of the virus and had a $2,500 bond.
In addition to the new second-degree murder charge, Williams is also now charged with resisting an officer with violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office noted that Williams has previously been arrested for a total of 35 charges. Back in 2012, he was convicted of two felony offenses including burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and in 2018 he was again convicted, but this time for felon in possession of a firearm.
Florida Sheriff Chad Chronister said this in response to Williams being arrested again:
“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, nonviolent offense. As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of 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.”
Williams appeared virtually in Florida court earlier this week and is now being held on bonds totaling over $250,000.
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