Florida football standout arrested for wife’s murder with help of TV show

A former safety at the University of Florida has been charged with killing his wife on Valentine’s Day three years ago, police said.

Earl Antonio Joiner, 33, was arrested Saturday on a second-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Heyzel Obando, whose lifeless body was found in her apartment on Feb. 14, 2016, Fort Myers police announced Saturday.

Joiner, who played for the Gators from 2004 to 2007, was taken into custody in Lake Wales after investigators worked closely with local prosecutors and producers from Oxygen Television’s “Cold Justice” series, police said.

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Joiner was a key member of the Gators’ 2006 national championship team under then-coach Urban Meyer and served as the team’s captain during his senior season — when he played alongside Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and tight end Aaron Hernandez, who would kill himself in prison in 2017 while serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 2013 murder.

Fort Myers police did not elaborate on what led to the arrest, but a police spokesman told The Post on Monday that Joiner had always been considered a suspect in the ongoing investigation.

“They were able to bring a fresh pair of eyes to it, let’s just put it that way,” Fort Myers police spokesman J. Mitchell Haley said of the Oxygen television series. “They were able to help us solidify much of the evidence that our detectives already had. It was a great partnership.”

Obando, 26, was found fatally shot, Haley said. Investigators ruled her death a homicide two months later, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Court records cited by the newspaper show that Joiner had been arrested on two occasions for beating Obando. He was also behind bars one month after her death for violating his probation, jail records show.

In 2017, a judge granted Obando’s mother, Isabel Martinez, permanent guardianship of Obando’s two daughters, who are now 3 and 6. But her daughter’s death left Martinez feeling “stuck,” she said, something she hopes might now change with Joiner’s arrest in the case.

“As a mother, I understand the pain his mother is going through,” Martinez told the newspaper. “But as a mother, no one is going to take my pain away. Now that he’s arrested, I hope he feels the weight of the law.”

Joiner remained in custody without bond Monday at the Polk County Jail, records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney.

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