FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former University of Florida defensive back Earl “Tony” Joiner was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday in the 2016 murder of his girlfriend.
Lee Circuit Judge Nicholas Thompson adjudicated Joiner guilty after the former Gators team captain, 37, pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder in the death of Heyzel Obando, 26, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
Joiner has already served more than 1,400 days in jail, which will be credited to his final sentencing, according to WINK-TV.
Obando, originally from Miami, was murdered between Feb. 13, 2016, and Feb. 14, 2016, authorities said. Joiner was accused of shooting Obando, a mother of two girls, in the head. Her body was found on Feb. 14, 2016, in Fort Myers, according to The Ledger newspaper of Lakeland reported.
Joiner, a former football star at Haines City High School, was arrested on June 8, 2019, in nearby Lake Wales, according to the newspaper.
Joiner’s arrest came after the case was aired on “Cold Justice,” a true-crime program on the Oxygen network. Joiner was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Police credited the television show for helping the investigation move forward, according to the newspaper.
According to Sports-Reference.com, Joiner, 37, played four seasons at Florida and was a captain his senior year. The defensive back played for the Gators from 2004 to 2007. He was on the Florida squad that won the national football championship after the 2006 season. Joiner led the Gators with 59 tackles during their championship season and added 64 more as a senior.