Front Page Detectives

How a True Crime Show Helped Tie a Former Florida Football Star to His Girlfriend’s Valentine's Day Murder

former florida university football star sentenced girlfriends murder
Source: Fort Myers Police Department; Unsplash

Feb. 14 2024, Published 4:31 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

A former University of Florida football star player must spend more than two decades in prison for the 2016 murder of his girlfriend.

Lee Circuit Judge Nicholas Thompson recently sentenced Tony Joiner, 37, to 25 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder for the death of Heyzel Obando, 26.

Article continues below advertisement

According to authorities, Obando was killed between Feb. 13, 2016, and Feb. 14, 2016.

Oxygen’s TV series Cold Justice did a series on the Valentine's Day death of Obando, which helped tie her death to Joiner.

In June 2019, Fort Myers Police praised the work of the series, saying the show footed the bill for additional DNA testing and brought in their own experts to re-analyze evidence that helped authorities link Joiner to the murder, the Naples Daily News reported.

Court records state Joiner called 911 on Feb. 14, 2016, and told dispatchers he needed an ambulance because something was wrong with his girlfriend.

Joiner claimed he had just returned from a trip to Winter Haven with his daughters and that is when he found Obando’s body in the apartment. Multiple first responders told detectives that Joiner was very calm and emotionless that night and he didn’t ask questions about how Obando died.

Article continues below advertisement

Never miss a story — sign up for the Front Page Detectives newsletter. Be on the scene the moment news breaks.

Investigators found one fired cartridge casing from a 9 mm Tulammo Luger inside a small open cardboard box in the bedroom, court records stated.

Police spoke with multiple witnesses who said Joiner owned that type of firearm. One witness said Obando gave Joiner the money to purchase it. However, detectives were never able to find the gun used in Obando’s death.


Become a Front Page Detective

Sign up to receive breaking
Front Page Detectives
news and exclusive investigations.

More Stories

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 FRONT PAGE DETECTIVES™️. A DIVISION OF MYSTIFY ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK INC. FRONT PAGE DETECTIVES is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.