Tony Joiner, once a beloved member of the 2006 national champion Florida Gators, is headed to prison for killing the mother of his children.
Joiner pleaded no contest on Monday to second-degree murder with a firearm and will spend at least 25 years behind bars.
Heyzel Obando was found dead on Valentine’s Day 2016 with a bullet in her temple.
At first, Joiner fought the charges against him; then he changed his mind.
Part of this deal is that he also never gets to see his daughters again.
Their oldest daughter was almost 3 years old when he shot Obando.
Days after Joiner shot the mother of his two daughters, the 3-year-old told police that “poppy shoted mommy” and “mommy blood.”
But the Fort Myers Police Department did not arrest Joiner until three years later, after the show “Cold Justice” got on the case.
As he accepted his plea deal, Obando’s family was overcome with emotion.
“She had to deal with abuse, neglect and all while caring for her two children,” said Brayan Obando, Hayzel’s brother. “Even when we were younger, my family wasn’t in the best position, so she took care of me.”
Obando’s family is glad Joiner’s going to stay behind bars, so they can remember Obando as the caring and loving sister, mother and daughter that she was.
“She always wanted to be a mother,” Brayan said. “She finally had that chance, just for it to be taken away.”
Brayan was asked how the two daughters are doing.
“Absolute joy,” Brayan said. “I don’t want to give anymore information further.”
The judge did not set a sentencing date yet.
Joiner has already served more than 1,400 days in jail, which will be credited to his final sentencing.