Former University of Florida DB Tony Joiner reaches plea deal in murder case

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Former University of Florida defensive back Earl “Tony” Joiner reached a plea deal with prosecutors in a murder case, according to a report.

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, the State Attorney’s Office and the player’s attorney, Donna Peterson, confirmed on Monday that a deal had been reached. Both declined to provide details about the agreement.

The newspaper, citing Lee County court records, said that a plea hearing is scheduled for June 5.

According to, Joiner, 37, played four seasons at Florida and was a captain his senior year. The defensive back played for the Gators from 2004 to 2007. He was on the Florida squad that won the national football championship after the 2006 season. Joiner led the Gators with 59 tackles during their championship season and added 64 more as a senior.

Joiner, a former football star at Haines City High School, was arrested on June 8, 2019, in nearby Lake Wales in Central Florida, The Ledger newspaper of Lakeland reported.

He is accused of shooting Heyzel Obando, a 26-year-old mother of two girls, in the head. Her body was found on Feb. 14, 2016, in Fort Myers, according to the newspaper.

Joiner’s arrest came after the case was aired on “Cold Justice,” a true-crime program on the Oxygen network. Joiner was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm, the Times reported. Police credited the television show for helping the investigation move forward, according to the newspaper.

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