Former Florida safety Tony Joiner arrested for second-degree murder

By Adam Silverstein
June 9, 2019
Former Florida safety Tony Joiner arrested for second-degree murder

In a stunning development, police in Lake Wales, Florida, have made an arrest in a suspicious death case dating back to 2016, charging former Florida Gators safety Tony Joiner, 33, with second-degree murder of his wife, Heyzel Obando.

It is unknown why it took police three years to finger Joiner, who was twice arrested for domestic abuse of Obando, for his wife’s murder. Obando died on Valentine’s Day 2016 in Fort Myers, and her death was ruled a homicide two months later. The Fort Myers News-Press, which first reported the arrest, notes that Joiner had been held in jail for probation violation one month after Obando’s death.

Joiner and Obando had two children; they have been watched by Obando’s mother, who was granted guardianship of the children one year after Obando’s death.

Joiner played for Florida from 2004-07 and was a senior captain for the Gators. He was arrested during his final year at UF for breaking into an impound lot by pushing open a gate, though it was later deemed a misunderstanding by the owner of the impound as Joiner had made plans to pay for the vehicle to be removed only for no one to be there when he arrived.

Though Florida achieved extensive on-field success under then-head coach Urban Meyer, the Gators were riddled with troubled players during his tenure with Joiner — a recruit of prior head coach Ron Zook — now becoming the second member of Florida’s 2007 team to be charged with murder.

Former star tight end Aaron Hernandez, who went on to a briefly successful NFL career with the New England Patriots, was convicted on first-degree murder charges while playing professional football in 2013. While serving life in prison after being found guilty, Hernandez was investigated for a double murder that occurred in 2012, though he was acquitted after a trail that ended in 2017. Two days after Hernandez’s acquittal, he was found dead in his jail cell in what was ruled a suicide.

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