Tony Joiner was taken into custody in Lake Wales and charged with second-degree murder in the 2016 Valentine’s Day shooting death of his wife, Heyzel Obando.
More than three years following the suspicious death of Heyzel Obando in Fort Myers, a former Haines City and University of Florida football star has been arrested for his wife’s murder.
Earl “Tony” Joiner, 33, was taken into custody Saturday after the Polk County Sheriff’s Office executed an arrest warrant obtained by the Fort Myers Police Department.
Joiner was being held with no bond in the Polk County Jail on Sunday, charged with second-degree murder. He will be transferred to the Lee County Jail following first appearance.
According to reports, Obando was found fatally shot inside her Fort Myers apartment complex home on Valentine’s Day 2016. Her death had remained unsolved prior to the allegations now facing Joiner.
Two months following the discovery of her body, Fort Myers police ruled Obando’s death a homicide, according to reports. She was 26 at the time of her alleged murder.
The Fort Myers News-Press first reported Joiner’s arrest and there were few details released by police. The website onlygators.com reported Sunday that the couple had a violent history with Joiner twice arrested for domestic abuse of Obando.
The couple had two children, girls now ages 3 and 6, according to a News-Press story. They have been under the care of their grandmother, Isabel Martinez of Miami, who was granted permanent guardianship in 2017.
“Now that he is arrested, I hope he feels the weight of the law,” Martinez told the News-Press.
A star safety with the UF football team from 2004-2007 under head coach Urban Meyer, Joiner — a 2004 graduate of Haines City High School — is the second player from the 2006 national championship team to be arrested for murder.
Former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez was indicted in June 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd about a mile from his house in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. In May 2014, he was again charged with murder for a double homicide that took place in July 2012.
While acquitted on the double-murder charges, Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Lloyd when he hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19, 2017.
As a junior in 2006, Joiner led all of UF’s defensive backs with 59 tackles. Florida went on to beat Ohio State for the BCS national championship to end that season.
As a senior, Joiner had 64 tackles and two interceptions, but ran into legal problems when he was arrested and accused of breaking into a towing company impound lot to remove his girlfriend’s car.
The company owner later said it was a misunderstanding and that Joiner had arranged earlier to pay the bill. Felony charges were dropped, but Meyer removed Joiner as a team captain — a role he didn’t regain until the final home game against Florida State.