Hardened Convict Released From Jail on Coronavirus Reprieve Murdered Florida Man Next Day

A Florida convict who was released from jail on account of the coronavirus epidemic went on to shoot and kill a man the very next day.

Joseph Williams was freed from jail on March 19th, having been in pretrial confinement and unable to afford bail. Last week, he was arrested for a shooting murder that took place on March 20th in Tampa.

Williams had already been in the Orient Road Jail on charges of heroin possession and drug paraphernalia.  He’s now facing charges of second-degree murder, possessing a weapon as a felon, and resisting arrest.

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister stated that 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.

Yet there are serious questions why Williams, who appears to be a career criminal with an arrest track record of 35 different criminal charges, was even let out of jail to begin with. He has two felony convictions and five misdemeanor convictions.

Chronister admitted the Sheriff’s Department didn’t properly vet Williams’ criminal track record before letting the felon out of jail, stating that “we didn’t go back at the time and look at people’s criminal history” when preparing to release 100 jail inmates on coronavirus jailbreak.

Williams is back in jail, and is being held without bond after his first court appearance on Monday.

If authorities want to be taken seriously as guardians of public safety during the coronavirus epidemic, the last thing they should be doing is releasing veritably dangerous criminals from jail.