In early 2019, WNBA champion Maya Moore said she was taking time off from basketball to focus on family and criminal justice reform. And now, after stepping away from the game at the peak of her career, her efforts have certainly paid off.
Moore helped to free Jonathan Irons, who has been behind bars for over 20 years.
In 1998, Jonathan Irons was arrested at 16 and charged with a non-fatal shooting and robbing a white man’s home near St. Louis. He was tried as an adult, convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Irons always maintained he was misidentified and not even there. There was never any DNA or fingerprints of Irons at the scene.
In 2007, Moore and Irons met through a prison ministry program and she has been advocating for his release ever since. Back in October, she told NBC News, “Over ten thousand people may be wrongfully convicted of serious crimes. Every year. And I know one of them. And so this one person now becomes an example of a bigger problem for me.”
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After back and forth with the courts for years, his case was overturned in March. Nonetheless, the state of Missouri continued to fight Irons’ release with appeals. However, after endless fighting and Maya Moore bringing attention to the case, he is now a free man as of yesterday, July 1.
Irons told The New York Times, “I feel like I can live life now. I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence. I thank everybody who supported me — Maya and her family.”
Irons plans to live with Moore’s godparents in Atlanta, the New York Times reports.
Jeremy Irons and Maya Moore sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on July 2.
Watch the interview below:
Photo Credit: Facebook/ABC
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