Per the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, 26-year-old Joseph Williams has been arrested on several charges including second-degree murder with a firearm. Williams was originally arrested on March 13 for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. Yet on March 19, Williams was one of more than 100 inmates released from the facility to help control the coronavirus.
Just a day after his release from jail, Williams became a murder suspect.
"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," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. "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."
On March 20, police began investigating the murder of a Tampa man. The evidence led back to Williams, who was arrested on Sunday. Along with second-degree murder, Williams is facing his original drug possession charge as well as resisting an officer and felon in possession of a firearm charges. Per court records, Williams is currently being held without bond.
Florida isn't the only state to release inmates to curb the coronavirus. Jails around the country have resorted to releasing criminals facing non-violent charges as the facilities are seen as breeding grounds for the virus. The inmates that are still in custody during this outbreak have complained about the lack of care and protection they've received. This prompted prisoners at Lansing correctional facility in Kansas to start an "uprising" in hopes to bring attention to their plight.