Another COVID-19 criminal back behind bars following WA attack

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s response to COVID-19 included early release of jail prisoners, and one of them is back behind bars, charged with attacking a hiker. (Screen snip, YouTube, Iowa Press)

Seattle’s KCPQ has reported about a convicted felon, released from prison early as part of an effort to reduce COVID-19 infections, who is back in jail after being arrested for allegedly attacking a woman on a hiking trail in Everett.

The suspect is not the first prisoner released early around the country due to the coronavirus pandemic panic. Authorities in Denver, Colo., have jailed a man in the slaying of a 21-year-old woman less than a month after the suspect was paroled, also due to COVID-19 concerns, according to the Denver Channel. The murder of Heather Perry could also be another illustration of how gun control didn’t prevent a criminal from getting a gun, as she was fatally shot in an alley. So now, Cornelius Haney stands accused of the crime and the victim’s family is blaming the early release.

Two months ago in Florida, a man was allegedly shot by another early release inmate identified as Joseph Edward Williams. He was released March 19, and the following day, he allegedly murdered a Tampa man, according to the New York Times.

The Washington case involves a man identified as Matthew Cory. He allegedly attacked a woman in her 60s who was walking along Everett’s Interurban trail May 15. He is one of about 1,000 inmates who have been released from Evergreen State confinement in an effort to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.

But instead of putting the brakes on the deadly virus, these early releases appear to be contributing to an increase in crime.

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KCPQ reported that Cory “has been in and out of prison several times,” and he “told investigators he’d been using meth for two weeks, hadn’t slept in seven days, and didn’t remember attacking the woman.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released this statement:

“The decision to release individuals from DOC was based on weighing the risk to incarcerated individuals and public safety. These were extremely difficult choices to make, but they were necessary in order to meet our obligations to allow for minimal social distancing in our more crowded living areas in the prisons. In reviewing individuals for potential release, we focused on those individuals who were incarcerated for less serious crimes and focused more on offenses involving property rather than crimes against persons. This group was chosen to reduce the risk to public safety, but no choice could be made to guarantee that there would never be a new crime committed.”

Down in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis stated, “Nobody should be released simply because of COVID-19; of course, the parole board can make individual evaluations and that is a tough job that they do.”

He also contended that the state could not have held the suspect much longer on his original sentence.

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