Women’s basketball star Maya Moore, who has sat out the past two WNBA seasons to help free a wrongfully convicted Missouri man from prison, finally saw her efforts come to fruition on Wednesday.
Jonathan Irons, 40, walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man Wednesday — four months after a judge overturned his conviction on burglary and assault charges from an incident that took place in 1998.
Moore was there outside the prison doors to witness Irons’ release, recording the moment on video.
“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,” Irons said in the video, adding, “I thank everybody who supported me. Maya and her family …”
Moore later shared on her Instagram account — along with a one-word caption: FREEDOM.
Moore met Irons in 2007 when she visited him through a prison ministry program before her freshman year at the University of Connecticut.
While becoming one of the most decorated players in women’s college basketball history, earning two Olympic gold medals and winning four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx, Moore maintained contact with Irons.
Beginning in 2016, she began to advocate his case publicly, helping to pay for his defense team and attending several of his courtroom hearings while he’s continued to maintain his innocence.
In March, a state judge issued a ruling that overturned Irons’ conviction and ordered him to be released from the maximum-security prison after serving 23 years of what was originally a 50-year sentence.