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Florida Inmate Joseph Williams Released from Jail Amid Coronavirus Concerns Arrested for Murder: Police

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A Florida inmate released early over concerns about jail spreading of the coronavirus has been arrested again, this time for second-degree murder, authorities said. Joseph Williams, 26, is being held without bail on charges including resisting an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as the murder count, according to online jail records.

He was released March 19 to help curb the spread of the virus in Hillsborough County detention centers and to protect inmates and staff, authorities said. He had originally been arrested six days before on possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia charges, according to jail records.

"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," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement.

He was one of 100 inmates released pending trial by county authorities. As of Wednesday, he was the only prisoner suspected of re-offending, the sheriff said.

Williams was arrested Monday in connection with the shooting death of a Tampa man, authorities said.

"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 sheriff said.

Williams has not yet entered a plea.

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