Convict 'held woman hostage' days after he was freed due to coronavirus

A convict tied a woman up and held her at knife-point days after he was freed from a halfway house because of the coronavirus.

Joshua Haskell, 42, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, drug possession and possession of a weapon by a restricted person in connection with the incident that allegedly occurred two days after his release from the facility in Utah.

State corrections officials said Haskell was released because of the virus, but did not answer questions about what role the virus played in his release, according to the Cache Valley Daily.

The woman told authorities she was asleep in her bedroom in American Fork on Thursday when Haskell broke into her house, according to the probable cause statement.

Haskell threatened the woman with a large knife and began to tie her up in the bed while telling the woman he was going to rob her, police said. During the attack, the woman’s son reportedly called 911.

Officers responded to the house and Haskell reportedly tried to hide in the bed with the alleged victim, but she ran downstairs. Police said she was panicked and frightened, but otherwise unhurt.

Utah Department of Corrections Kaitlin Felsted confirmed that the coronavirus crisis was the reason Haskell was released early, but she did not elaborate.

Haskell was booked in a local jail, where he appeared for his mugshot with a surgical mask because he told jail workers he had coughed. Authorities later said that Haskell did not have Covid-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.

He has previously been charged with drug-related offenses, DUI and burglary.

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