Maya Moore has married Jonathan Irons — the wrongfully convicted man she helped free after 23 years of imprisonment. The WNBA star and activist announced her marriage to Irons on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday (Sept. 16).
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore said. “We got married a couple months ago and we’re excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”
“Over the last 13 years we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts and now we’re sitting here today — starting a whole new chapter together.”
Moore revealed the couple tied the knot back in July, which is when Irons was finally released from prison. In 1998 — when he was 16 — Irons was arrested for the burglary and shooting at the home of Stanley Stotler in O’Fallon, Missouri. The case relied on Stotler’s identification of Irons as the intruder, but suffered many holes and lapses in evidence.
Besides Stotler’s testimony, there were no credible witnesses who could confirm Irons’ involvement. At the time, a police officer submitted an affidavit that claimed Irons had confessed to the crime, although there was no recording of his alleged confession. Irons denied ever confessing to the crime and has maintained that he had no involvement in the break-in or shooting.
It was later revealed that a key finger print found inside the home not belonging to Stotler — which would have eliminated Irons as a suspect — was never submitted as evidence. Nonetheless, Irons was tried as an adult by an all-white jury and egregiously sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Moore became publicly involved in the case in 2019, though she had been friends with Irons for over a decade. Last year, she skipped the WNBA season to focus on ministry and outreach and used her star-athlete platform to bring attention to Irons’ wrongful conviction. Earlier this year, Moore announced she would again sit-out the season to work on criminal justice reform.
Judge Daniel Green vacated Irons’ conviction on July 2, citing the case’s numerous issues and calling it “very weak and circumstantial at best.”
Although Irons and Moore’s friendship had already blossomed into a romance, Irons told “Good Morning America” he wanted to postpone marriage until he was freed.
“I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison — it’s extremely difficult and painful. And I didn’t want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time — if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard,” he said.
“When I got out, we were in the hotel room... we had some friends in the room; it was winding down and we were extremely tired, but we were still gassed up on excitement,” he recalled of being released. “It was just me and her in the room and I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on and I said, ‘Will you marry me?’ She said, ‘Yes.’”
Now, the couple is working together to help others who have been wrongfully imprisoned and partnered with Get Out the Vote to encourage voting in local elections.
“We’re basically trying to just educate the public — get them engaged in the voting process and just being more involved in what’s going on with our country and our government and local jurisdictions [and] prosecuting offices,” Irons said.
“Hopefully, I can continue to do and whatever else, you know, that we can contribute to the fight because it’s a big fight and the more hands involved makes the work easier. So we’re doing our part.”
Congratulations to the happy couple! See their wedding photo below.