NewsLocal NewsLee County


Boyfriend admits to killing girlfriend in 2016 cold case

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jun 08, 2019
and last updated 2023-06-05 21:07:30-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A piece of a Fort Myers murder case is now closed. Earl Joiner pleaded guilty on Monday to killing his girlfriend seven years ago. Heyzel Obando was a mother of two, and her children were only 3-years-old and six months at the time of the killing. Joiner is the father of the children.

Obando was murdered on Valentine's Day in 2016 by Joiner, who will now spend at least 25 years in prison.

Heyzel Obando

"I'm glad some sort of justice has been served here today," said Bryan Obando, Heyzel's brother. "She always wanted to be a mother. She finally go that chance just to be taken away."

Court documents say Joiner called 911 after shooting her in the head, though h eonly said she was covered in blood and needed help. When help came, court documents say he pretended to give her CPR.

From 2016 to 2019, Joiner was a free man as prosecutors lacked the evidence needed to arrest him. That's until a TV show, focused on solving crimes, came to Fort Myers and featured the crime.


That help led to Joiner's arrest in 2016 in Polk County.

"She was caring and strong woman. She had to deal with abuse, neglect and all while caring for her two children,m" Bryan said.

Her mother also spoke in court Monday, showing the judge a picture of Heyzel before sentencing Joiner, a former University of Florida football player.

Court documents also say Obando's mom told detectives her daughter planned on confronting Joiner before the murder, accusing him of cheating and trying to spend her tax return money. Those same documents explain a pattern of domestic violence arrests against Joiner, even threatening to kill Obando several times.