WNBA star Maya Moore is celebrating what could be one of the biggest win of her life, after her efforts to free a wrongfully convicted man came to fruition on Wednesday.
After serving over 20 years in a Missouri prison, Jonathan Irons, 40, is finally free, Sports Illustrated reports.
Irons was sentenced to 50 years after he was convicted on charges of assault and battery for a crime that took place when he was 16-years-old.
Moore, 31, first met Irons in 2007, during her family’s ministry work in the prison system. In 2019 and earlier this year, Moore decided to step away from her successful basketball career to help free Irons, fully convinced that he was serving time for a crime he did not commit.
After aiding Irons’ legal team, his conviction was overturned on March 9, stemming from a fingerprint found near the door inside the house of the victim, Stanley Stotler, who was shot twice during the assault. Irons’ legal team petitioned that the fingerprints were never turned over and did not match Iron, nor Stotler.
Moore shared a snippet of the emotional moment when Irons was met with his family and friends outside of the facility.
“I feel like I can live life now,” Irons said, according to The New York Times. “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.”
Moore is grateful that Irons is no longer bound by an unjust system which led to the diminishing of another young Black life. She told The Times that through all of the challenges, she has no regrets.
“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything,” Moore said. “Basketball has not been foremost in my mind. I’ve been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I’ve been able to be there for Jonathan.”