An inmate freed from a Florida prison on March 19 due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis allegedly committed murder the following day.
Joseph Edwards Williams, 26-years-old, was arrested Monday for an incident that occurred the day after he was released from the Hillsborough County Jail in Tampa, Florida. He is facing second-degree murder charges, WFLA reported.
Williams was released from the county jail along with about 163 other inmates whom officials deemed “non-violent” in an effort to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the prison.
According to law enforcement, Williams was involved with a March 20 shooting homicide. The shooting occurred just a day after Williams was released from prison. In a statement to the media, Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said Williams “took advantage” of the jailbreak policy.
“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,” Chronister said. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”
Williams was previously arrested and serving time for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. Now, Williams is being held on a more than $250,000 bond.
The alleged murder comes as thousands of inmates across the country have been released from state and federal prisons in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This month, Attorney General William Barr issued a memo allowing three federal prisons to release inmates considered “vulnerable” to home confinement.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.