Felon Freed So He Wouldn't Get Virus Arrested For Murder The Next Day

Holly Matkin

Hillsborough County Jail released Joseph Edwards Williams on March 19 and he was arrested for murder on March 20.

Tampa, FL – A Florida inmate who was released from jail due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 allegedly murdered someone one day after he was turned loose.

Joseph Edwards Williams, 26, had been arrested on March 13 for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia, WFLA reported.

Williams was released from the Hillsborough County Jail at 8:02 a.m. on March 19, in accordance with an administrative order aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus inside jail facilities.

Despite the fact that he is a convicted felon with over 35 prior arrests, Williams was one of 164 inmates allowed to walk free under the directive.

At approximately 10:40 p.m. on March 20, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) began receiving multiple 911 calls regarding gunfire in the area of Ash Avenue and 81st Street South, WFLA reported.

They arrived to discover that a man at that location had been fatally shot. His killer had fled the scene.

Investigators identified Williams as the gunman, and arrested him in Gibsonton on Monday night, WFLA reported.

“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 to WFLA. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”

Williams has been charged with violently resisting an officer, second-degree murder, drug possession, paraphernalia possession, and gun possession, NBC News reported.

“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,” Sheriff Chronister told WFLA.

Sheriff Chronister had previously defended the mass release during a press conference on March 19.

“We want to protect our employees here. We want to protect the remainder of the jail population,” he said at the time. “We also feel these low-level, non-violent offenders will be better-served [at] home, with their families.”

Judges, prosecutors and sheriffs throughout the United States have been left to face “difficult decisions” during the pandemic “with respect to balancing public health and public safety,” he told WFLA.

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

Comments (40)
No. 1-29
flybynight
flybynight

This not the usual suspect REPEAT this is not the usual suspect. I have no idea why, it just isn't.

gmayberry
gmayberry

We've lost our minds because so few have the mind of Christ. As a society, once Christ centered is much like the children of Israel during the time of Moses. We have not only rejected God across the board, we mock Him daily by slaughtering the most innocent in the womb. America really needs to listen to President Trump and ask God's forgiveness and His protection and guidance. We're a godless society with the majority being flat out God haters.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

He's got a lot of mugshots. One of them lists

Occupation: UNCOOPERATIVE

another:

Occupation: UNEMPLOYED

florida.arrests.org/search.php?county=14&page=1&results=56&fname=joseph&lname=williams&fpartial=True

BURGLARY OF AN UNOCCUPIED CONVEYANCE

OBSTRUCTING

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH DEADLY WEAPON

BATTERY ON A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

LOITERING OR PROWLING

PETIT THEFT

RESISTING

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH DEADLY WEAPON

FELON CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON

FTA

POSSESSION OF HEROIN

Tpr365
Tpr365

The liberals are winning. 35 prior arrests and somebody thought he would get out and behave. Someone is now dead because of this insanity.

JBoH
JBoH

“We also feel these low-level, non-violent offenders will be better-served [at] home, with their families.”

How 'bout now?

maxx1676
maxx1676

Who ever was involved with letting this animal out should be personally responsible for this crime and be put in a cell with this POS.

Creekside.hackmods21
Creekside.hackmods21

What do u guys think makes people act like this... people cant keep doing this... is it for a good reason or do they just want to do it do they hate their self like what the heck are they thinking I really want to know

MSK
MSK

Nice work sheriff! (sarc.) SMFH

rvigneault
rvigneault

how about POS,MAGGOT, WASTE OF AIR,JERK ETC

ScaleriBrosLawyer
ScaleriBrosLawyer

So the violent career criminal continued to be a violent career criminal despite the official stay at home order? Shocker.

Daystar
Daystar

Let him be a test subject for Corona vaccines or just shoot him dead and save us some money. Sorry, I know it’s a very unchristian thing to say. Lucky for him I’m not Jesus ( who forgives anyone who repents and asks him into their heart)

Quasar704
Quasar704

The family of the person he murdered should be able to sue the fuck out of local government and those that are directly responsible for releasing this dude knowing what his criminal history is like should be criminally charged. This is FUCKED UP

Five-0
Five-0

You don’t need to be a genius to see a pattern here. It is what they do. No surprise.

RunCop
RunCop

cRIMINAL Justice reform...........stupid fuckin liberals

Saints
Saints

Wow!!!! Law abiding citizens again and again being ignored over criminals and again paying the ultimate price MURDER!!! Thanks to whoever was the Sheriff whom made that STUPID DECISION......

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

Reality Check...This is happening all over the Country, with similar results. And this is just one of many examples. Are you awake? Are watching? If you think the Liberals intent is to "take care of you", get your head out of your ass. They don't give a damn about you. It is all about money and power. Their money. Their power.

Golobki
Golobki

Sentence him to a heavy dose of Covid 19

Gramercy
Gramercy

Well, apparently by freeing him...MY STATE got just what it asked for....People are JAILeD for a reason...do not let the insanity of a virus change the law!

rhj10077
rhj10077

He was a low-level Criminal who the hell is running that jail down there they need to be sued

Inquirer63
Inquirer63

I wonder why the Sheriff thinks being killed with a gun is worse than being killed any other way! It’s still murder, and the victim is no “deader” when killed with gun than when killed with a knife, a sword, poisoned to death, killed by a car. As a Vietnam combat vet, I have seen people killed by guns, and it can be much quicker and less painful —at least in duration—than being killed in some other ways. Murder is wrong, a crime, an insult to society, and Anna t initiated by people, not instruments or tools.

Justdone
Justdone

I don’t care who agrees with me on this but may God come down and take this kind of trash out!!! This pos was not a low level criminal and I’d sure like to know WHO put his name on the list and who then APPROVED IT!!!

fell
fell

There goes LE tip lines: JW just took care of his snitch-you think?

DR226
DR226

Sheriff Clonister states "murder and violent crime, ESPECIALLY COMMITTED WITH A FIREARM", is a sickening example of the worst in our community. Is he minimizing murder by any other means? IMO kind of a stupid remark on his part. And why is it these jurisdictions that are setting inmates free because of RISK of exposure to Covid-19 aren't taking public safety into account.

bryantrent
bryantrent

What a SOB

Stanracer
Stanracer

The usual suspect. Hope he gets life.

Buzzard
Buzzard

Our servants need to be aware that at some point, their constituents may start holding them accountable and exact justice/retribution on them. Allowing dangerous criminals to walk free is not neglect or a mistake, it is a conscious decision to place law abiding citizens at risk. At the very least, somebody should round up all those criminals and drop them off in the neighborhoods of those that released them.

Schick56
Schick56

35 prior arrests and I think he should be home. IDIOTS, 😠

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

question: who could have seen this coming? answer: anyone with half a brain. The only people who are surprised by this are those with less than half a brain

Lochemet
Lochemet

If these criminals have been put in jail/prison, then their punishment is incarceration and they will be subjected to the conditions of prison life. They only are responsible for their actions that led to their incarceration - "commit a crime, go to jail". If there are viruses going around in the prison or any other sicknesses, then there is a strong possibility that they will catch the virus, and that includes this current pandemic. That's just how it works. Part of prison life what goes around comes around. There is no reason that any of these criminals should be released so they won't catch the Corona virus. If they do, too bad, buddy. You got yourself incarcerated and you should have to face prison life in all aspects, including the sicknesses going around in there. They get released, and innocent people get robbed, mugged, or killed. That's insanity.


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