Tony Joiner, 33, a former Florida Gators football star, has been arrested and charged with murdering his wife over three years after she was pronounced dead in her Florida apartment.
In a previously unsolved case, Joiner’s wife, Heyzel Obando, was found dead in Fort Myers on Valentine’s Day in 2016. Police at the time believed Obando’s death to be suspicious and ruled it a homicide two months after her body was found. It wasn’t until Saturday that an arrest finally was made.
It’s not clear why they decided to charge Joiner three years later, but court records showed Joiner was arrested twice for beating Obando while they were married, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
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Joiner played safety for the Gators from 2004-2007, serving as team captain his senior season under coach Urban Meyer. He won a national championship with the 2006 Gators squad.
Obando’s mother, Isabel Martinez, was torn with emotion over the arrest of her daughter’s husband.
“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.”
Fort Myers police had met with Martinez on Friday to inform her of the arrest warrant they had out for Joiner.
Obando’s daughters, now three and six, will be taken care of by Martinez, who was granted permanent guardianship of her grandchildren in 2017, officials said.
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“They are getting big,” Martinez said. “They are going to school.”
Before her death, Obando was set to begin work at a tax-prep company in Fort Myers, according to a Facebook post from January 2016. Fort Myers is a two-hour drive northwest of Miami.
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Joiner was charged with second-degree murder and is being held in the Polk County Jail on Saturday afternoon.
He ultimately will be transferred to the Lee County Jail, officials said.