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Inmate Released Over Coronavirus Fears Was Arrested For Murder Hours Later

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Inmate Released Over Coronavirus Fears Was Arrested For Murder Hours Later

After a number of inmates in the United States were released pending their trial because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of them has now been arrested for murder.

Joseph Edward Williams, 26, was charged with second-degree murder by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office as well as resisting an officer with violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The inmates were released to lower the risk of spreading Covid-19. Credit: PA
The inmates were released to lower the risk of spreading Covid-19. Credit: PA

He was initially booked into Orient Road Jail in Hillsborough County, Florida, on 13 March for possession of heroin (less than four grams), a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia - a first-degree misdemeanour.

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Williams was one of more than 100 inmates released from custody until trial on 19 March. This was implemented in an effort to lower the risk of the spread of Covid-19 within the Hillsborough County detention facilities and to protect the inmates, deputies and civilian staff working within the jails.

Joseph Edward Williams. Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Joseph Edward Williams. Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

According to CNN, the day after he was released police were called to investigate reports of gunshots in a Tampa neighbourhood, where they found a man who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff Chad Chronister commented on the arrest saying: "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 offence.

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"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."

He added: "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.

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

It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our Coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on Coronavirus, click here.

Featured Image Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Topics: News, Coronavirus, US News

Rebecca Shepherd
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