Missouri man freed from prison with help from WNBA star Maya Moore
Jonathan Irons was sentenced to 50 years in prison when he was just 16 years old.
WNBA superstar Maya Moore put her career on hold with the Minnesota Lynx to help Jonathan Irons, a Black man, get his conviction for burglary and assault with a weapon overturned. Irons was finally released from Missouri’s Jefferson City Correctional Center on Wednesday (July 1).
“I feel like I can live life now,” Irons said inMaya Moore a video Moore posted to social media. “I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence.”
On Thursday (July 2), Moore and Irons appeared on “Good Morning America” to speak about his release. “In that moment, I really felt like I could rest,” Moore said. “I’d been standing, and we’d been standing, for so long and it was an unplanned moment where I just felt relief. It was kind of a worshipful moment, just dropping to my knees and just being so thankful that we made it.”
In 1998, Irons was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for burglary and assault with a weapon of a St. Louis homeowner. The homeowner testified that Irons was the one who assaulted him in his home, but his attorney said there was no evidence to support those claims. Irons, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was tried as an adult and the all-white jury found him guilty. He served 22 years in prison.
On Thursday, Irons revealed what he plans to do now that he is a free man. “I want to rest, and get my legs up under me and be able to stand,” he said. “There’s a lot to adjust to out here, and I’m gonna take it slow.”
He continued, “I’m surrounded by people I know who love me and have my best interests in mind, and so I’m gonna listen to them, study and learn all I can. And when I get the time and the opportunity and the resources and the provision, I want to be able to reach back and help other people. I want to advocate for people who are less fortunate. I want to help people with their cases. I want to speak to positive change and be a part of the rebuilding process from where we’re at right now, because there’s so much greater coming on the horizon, and I see it — even in the darkness, I was able to see it — and I know we’re going. We shouldn’t give up. We should keep going.”
Check out the moment Irons was released from prison below.