Judge Agrees With Star Who Sat Out for Justice

Court throws out 1997 convictions of Maya Moore's family friend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2020 7:30 PM CDT
Judge Agrees With Star Who Sat Out for Justice
WNBA star Maya Moore, right, calls Jonathan Irons as supporters celebrate Monday in Jefferson City, Mo.   (Jeff Haldiman/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP)

Maya Moore has always been known for hitting the big shot on the grandest stage. She just got the biggest assist of her career. A judge on Monday overturned the 1997 burglary and assault convictions of Jonathon Irons, a Missouri man whose case has been championed by the WNBA star to the point she stepped away from her career to help the family friend. Cole County Judge Dan Green found the defense for Irons provided enough evidence to prove he was wrongfully convicted, the AP reports. He has been serving a 50-year prison sentence stemming the non-fatal shooting of a homeowner in the St. Louis area when Irons was 16. Moore called Irons from Jefferson City after Monday's court hearing. When he answered the phone, Moore and supporters cheered. "You're coming home," she told him. Irons thanked his supporters and even broke into song at one point.

Irons could be freed within 30 days, unless the St. Charles County prosecutor's office decides to retry him. The judge also stayed his order pending a review by the Missouri attorney general's office, which could decide to appeal. "It's a surreal feeling, it hasn’t sunk in yet," said Moore, who was born in Jefferson City. "It will when he walks out those doors. It's like we got to the Final Four, but still have some work left to do. I have mixed emotions as I’m elated it happened but the decision could have been made so much faster." The Minnesota Lynx star put her career on hold last season to help Irons. The four-time WNBA champion has said she plans to sit out a second season and miss the Tokyo Olympics this summer. "My decision to take another year was bigger than this case," she said Monday.

(More wrongful conviction stories.)

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