Earl Antonio Joiner had a highly productive collegiate career at the University of Florida. Joiner played as a fixture in their defense that helped guide the school to a national championship. However, his life took a dark turn after his playing as he received charge of murder of his wife three years after her death by a TV show.
Earl Antonio Joiner’s Florida football career
Earl Antonio Joiner spent four years at the University of Florida (2004-07), where he was a fixture on their defense.
Joiner started as a true-freshman that saw his role increase over his tenure as he played in 47 games with 27 starts at the safety position. During that span, he recorded 156 total tackles, five interceptions, three forced fumbles, and 9.5 tackles for a loss.
Joiner played a vital role on the Gators’ 2006 national championship team and was team captain for his senior campaign. However, his life took a concerning turn after his playing days.
Earl Antonio Joiner’s wife suspiciously found dead
Several years following Earl Antonio Joiner’s successful collegiate career at the University of Florida, things took a dark path in his personal life.
Joiner ran into several personal problems that involved law enforcement. The former Gators star had been arrested on two occasions for beating his wife, Heyzel Obando. Things took a terrifying direction on Valentines’ Day in 2016 as Obando’s body was found lifeless in her apartment.
The 26-year-old suffered a fatal shot in a room of her home, which investigators initially ruled two months after the incident as being a homicide. Detective discovered one fired cartridge casing from a 9 mm Tulammo luger insider a small open cardboard box in the bedroom.
There were multiple witnesses stated that Joiner owned that type of gun, which some voiced that Obando gave him money to buy. However, the detectives never were able to find the gun used in the murder. Meanwhile, Joiner served jail time a month after his wife’s death due to the violation of probation charge and released on May 8, 2016.
Things remained unresolved on that end for a few years. It did see Obando’s mother granted permanent guardianship of her two young granddaughters in 2017. However, the situation hit the fast track toward a resolution in a surprising manner.
TV show helps lead to arrest and murder charge
In the years that followed the tragic Valentines’ Day murder, Heyzel Obando’s case went unresolved.
That was until Oxygen’s “Cold Justice” tv show had their investigators explore the case. The TV program went with an in-depth approach to the situation in May 2019.
The detectives associated with the show did their digging into the story after finding it curious that Earl Antonio Joiner called 911 after allegedly finding his girlfriend’s body. The show pieced together interviews from old witnesses and tracked down new ones. The local Fort Myers police initially brought the team to the apartment.
The detectives found that Joiner had an angry text exchange with his wife and spent money at two strip clubs on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The “Cold Justice” team then found a two-and-a-half-hour call between Joiner, his mother, and brother from that night. There were also several strange selfies sent to his brother that looked like if he was crying.
They also reviewed Obando’s autopsy that showed that she might have been dead for possibly as long as 24 to 36 hours before the ambulance arrived. That time frame alone left the window open for Joiner to murder his wife, then take his girls to his mother’s house in Winter Haven and return to the home.
All that presented enough of a case for Joiner to be arrested on June 8, 2019, for second-degree murder. The Fort Myer Police cooperated with the Oxygen “Cold Justice” investigators because the Obando case was the third time they worked with them. The previous two instances led to arrests and convictions.
In response to the charges against him, Earl Antonio Joiner chose to plead not guilty to his wife’s murder. The case is still going through the legal system.