WNBA star Maya Moore shocked fans when she announced in February her plans to put down the basketball and pick up the baton of justice to help a friend fight to get his conviction overturned.
Moore, who wrote about her decision for the Player’s Tribune, decided to take a hiatus from the Minnesota Lynx to help her friend Jonathan Irons who was sentenced to 50 years as a teen in connection with alleging using a gun during a burglary.
Moore and Irons’ legal team have been pushing for the judge to reopen the 1997 case, saying the then teen was coerced into a confession, WSBTV reports.
“I’ve known Jonathan for over a decade, and I’m fighting to make sure his case gets a fair review. I’m trying to call attention to the prosecutorial misconduct that I believe resulted in his being wrongfully sent to prison for 50 years as a teenager,” Moore told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Moore reportedly says that an evidentiary hearing is coming up on October 9 in Missouri to present the case that no DNA, fingerprints or footprints was found that could connect Irons to the crime.
Irons who is now 30, was 16 in 1997 and according to court records obtained by media outlets, he reportedly had a gun and was seen in the vicinity of where th burglary and shooting took place.
According to The Times, the victim reported a burglary and shots were fired, striking the victim in the right side of the head. Irons reportedly confessed by a detective who wasn’t available during the trail to cross-examine Irons because he was sick. The detective is also dead now.
Moore started a petition on Change.org and spoke this past weekend to the Congressional Black Caucus.
Moore has also created Win With Justice, a social action campaign and hopes it gains traction to get attention on this case.
“Hopefully this will educate people to do something when they feel doomed and get outraged,” Moore said. “While it’s hard for people to grasp the 10,000 people who are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes each year, Jonathan’s case helps bring it down for people to connect with. You can connect with one man’s story.”
Until her friend gets justice, Moore will keep on pushing this cause until she decides to bounce back into basketball.