Brandon Joiner is no closer to coming home than he is right now, in a cell at the San Saba Transfer Facility.
After serving the first four months of a three-year prison sentence, the former Shoemaker defensive lineman became eligible for parole Wednesday, but could end up spending another two or three months locked up due to red tape.
According to a duty officer at the Gatesville Institutional Parole Office, Joiner has yet to be interviewed by a parole officer, the first stage of the parole process. After the interview, the parole officer will type out a report and submit it to the parole board along with the offender’s case file and any other useful and pertinent information. The board then reviews all of the material before making its decision.
The entire process usually takes 10 to 12 weeks to complete once its started.
“He’s a little frustrated right now. He knows it’s a waiting game,” said Cynthia Joiner-Moore, Joiner’s mother.
In May, Joiner plead guilty to aggravated robbery and felony drug possession, and was sentenced to three years in prison for the 2007 incident that got him kicked off the Texas A&M football team at the time and is now derailing a potential NFL career.
Joiner signed a rookie free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals on May 2 following an all-Sun Belt Conference defensive MVP season as a senior at Arkansas State University.
The Bengals placed on Joiner on the Reserve/Did Not Report list in late July that allowed the team to maintain his rights upon his release from prison. But, at least for this season, he would not count against the team’s roster limit and his salary would not be counted against the cap.
“It’s going to be fine. It’s been hard, but I still have faith and I know everything’s going to be OK, but we’re just ready to move on with this. We really are,” Joiner-Moore said.
Since being taken into custody, Joiner has spent significant time at a number of locations, including the Holliday Unit in Huntsville, Travis County State Jail and San Saba.
Joiner-Moore has made an effort to make sure her son has a visitor every week. Since Travis County and San Saba are relatively closer, that’s been easier on everyone, she said.
But finding ways to pass the time, whether it’s just another couple of months while the parole process works itself out or another couple of years until the end of his sentence, is what’s keeping Joiner busiest.
“If you don’t come (home) the first time, he understands, that’s life. But he’s hoping for (parole),” Joiner-Moore said. “He wants to be able to do something, not just sit there.”
According to police documents, Joiner and a former A&M teammate broke into a College Station apartment complex on Nov. 29, 2007, and robbed a known drug dealer at gunpoint, binding him and another man with duct tape and stealing cash, car keys, a cellphone and drugs.
A police search at Joiner’s home found marijuana, hydrocodone and Ecstacy.
In 2010, Joiner received 10 years probation as part of a plea deal that dropped one of two aggravated robbery charges to robbery and allowed him to attend college and play football.
He was sentenced in the other aggravated robbery charge May 23 at the Brazos County Courthouse.
For the last two years, while attending Arkansas State, Joiner spent weeks at a time in jail during Christmas and summer breaks to work off a 60-day jail term that was also a condition of his probation.
“He’s matured a lot and he understands what his actions got him,” Joiner-Moore said. “He wants to be at home to take care of me. ... He wants to get out and play ball, too.
“My uncle died a few weeks ago and he wasn’t able to go to the funeral,” she added. “He’s seeing (the consequences) more deeply, missing his family.”