Former UF safety Tony Joiner, a starter for the 2006 national champion Gators, has been charged with murdering his wife.
The Fort Myers News-Press reported Joiner faces a second-degree murder charge for the 2016 death of Heyzel Obando. Obando was found dead in her Lake Wales apartment on Valentine’s Day, but the case had remained unsolved for more than three years.
Joiner, 33, currently is being held without bond in Polk County jail, where records show he was booked Saturday.
Joiner was a member of the Gators from 2004-07, playing his final season on the same team with freshman tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez went onto become an All-America at UF and key player for the New England Patriots until he was investigated for murder. Hernandez was convicted in 2015 and later killed himself in prison.
Joiner was recruited by former coach Ron Zook but spent three seasons under Urban Meyer. The off-the-field issues of Meyer’s teams led to dozens of arrests and tarnished his and the UF program’s image.
Lining up next to All-America Reggie Nelson, Joiner posted 59 tackles in 2006 to rank third for the Gators and first among defensive backs. Joiner had 64 tackles as a senior team captain and during his final two seasons totaled 10 pass break-up, four interceptions and 8.5 tackles for loss.
Joiner later married Obando and was arrested twice for beating her, according to the News-Press. Two months after Obando’s death, police ruled it a homicide but did not tie Joiner to the murder.
Isabel Martinez, Obando’s mother, spoke to the News-Press about Joiner’s arrest.
"As a mother, I understand the pain his mother is going through," Martinez said. "But as a mother, no one is going to take my pain away.
“Now that he is arrested, I hope he feels the weight of the law.”
In 2017, Martinez was granted permanent guardianship of her two granddaughters, now ages 3 and 6.