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Florida Man Freed From Jail Amid COVID-19 Concerns Allegedly Commits Murder One Day After His Release!

Florida innmate commits murder one day after early release due to coronavirus concerns.

A Florida inmate who was freed from jail due to concerns over the novel coronavirus spreading in correctional facilities now stands accused of murdering someone one day after his early release.

According to a statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, 26-year-old Edward Williams is one of more than 100 inmates who were released on March 19 as part of a public health order to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 — but the man was arrested in Tampa and taken back into police custody a day later on March 20. Talk about taking advantage of a tough situation…

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Williams was initially arrested on March 13 on charges of a third-degree felony for possession of heroin (less than four grams) and a first-degree misdemeanor for getting caught with an assortment of drug paraphernalia on him as well. Both pale in comparison to the second-degree murder charge he’s now facing for the alleged killing, as well as resisting an officer with violence.

Sheriff Chad Chronister explained how his department plans to proceed with legal action against the inmate:

“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.”

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s records noted Williams has previously been arrested for 35 charges in total; he was convicted of two felony offenses including burglary of an unoccupied conveyance in 2012 and the possession of a firearm in 2018. The suspect clearly has a long rap sheet and now, this alleged homicide will be tacked on to that list…

Chronister added:

“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.”

The idea behind Administrative Order S-2020-021 was to allow local sheriffs to “use his or her discretion in releasing only such eligible pretrial detainees… who are believed to not pose a threat to the safety of the citizens of Hillsborough County, Florida.” Obviously, Williams no longer fits that criteria after allegedly committing murder.

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The statement continued:

“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 nonviolent, low-level offenders to protect our deputies and the jail population from an outbreak.”

Williams was issued a bond of $2,500 for his previous charges and could’ve essentially walked free if it were met and he stayed out of trouble. After virtually appearing in court on Tuesday, he is reportedly being held on bonds worth more than $250,000; the HCSO’s website notes he is listed on a “no bond” status, though. Chronister added in his statement:

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

Let’s hope the other released inmates learn from this incident and don’t take their literal “get out of jail free” card for granted, too.

[Image via Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office].

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Apr 15, 2020 13:06pm PDT