Jonathan Irons, the man Lynx star Maya Moore has been working to help free from prison while she has been taking time away from the WNBA, had his convictions overturned on Monday by a judge in Cole County, Mo. — and Moore was the one who delivered the life-altering news by phone, according to a report from the Jefferson City News Tribune.
Moore announced in February 2019 that she was sitting out last year’s WNBA season to focus on her faith and social justice goals. A main part of that focused on Irons — a family friend of Moore who was serving a 50-year sentence in connection to a burglary and shooting in the St. Louis area.
Irons was 16 at the time; on Monday, while still in state prison, he took a call from Moore after “his defense had provided enough evidence to prove he was wrongfully convicted” in a ruling from Judge Dan Green.
“It doesn’t feel real. It’s sad that it has taken this long for us to get to this point and he’s still not home yet,” Moore said, per the Jefferson City News Tribune. “We’re happy, though, that the truth is out there.”
Irons’ attorney told the paper that it would likely be at least a couple of weeks before Irons is released.
Earlier this year, Moore announced her intention to miss the upcoming WNBA season while continuing to fight for Irons. It’s unclear what impact Monday’s ruling might have on Moore’s playing status in the future, though clearly that’s not the most important part of Monday’s ruling.
“We’re still fighting because he is still behind bars, but we hope that the momentum and the commitment we’ve had for truth in this case, from Johnathan, to our lawyers, to our family, we hope inspires others and inspires change along with accountability and prosecutorial reform,” Moore told the newspaper. “This is something that didn’t have to happen.”
Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve continued her message of support for Moore’s fight by tweeting Monday: “Congratulations @MooreMaya, Jonathan Irons, and the families involved on this incredible news of Jonathan’s conviction being overturned. We are so proud of your resilience in this fight and your passion for criminal justice reform. #WinnerInCourt #WinnerOnCourt.”