Maya Moore is a star on the basketball court, but she’s an even bigger champion for criminal justice reform.
The WNBA athlete has spent the better part of a decade fighting to give an innocent man his life and freedom back. Today, she has not only accomplished her mission, but she’s also found love in the process!
The 31-year-old first met Jonathan Irons while she was working with a prison ministry program at 18. It didn’t take long for her to realize that he didn’t belong behind bars.
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Jonathan was just 16 when he was wrongly convicted of a nonfatal shooting during a home robbery. After being identified in a lineup, he was arrested and tried as an adult. Despite a lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime, he was sentenced to 50 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
When Moore heard his story, she felt compelled to act. Over the following years the two of them worked together, they fell head over heels in love!
Since then, Moore has been on a mission for justice, bringing awareness to Jonathan’s case and collecting over 100,000 signatures on a petition to free him.
The four-time WNBA championship winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist even put her career on hold to dedicate her time to the cause!
All their hard work paid off in a huge way this March, when a Missouri judge finally overturned Jonathan’s conviction!
In July, he walked out of the prison for good after serving 23 years. At the age of 40, he was a free man! And following the excitement of his release, he finally got his chance to ask Moore a question he had been holding onto for years.
“It was just me and her in the [hotel] room,” he told GMA. “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.'”
The lovebirds quietly exchanged vows amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, only announcing their long-awaited nuptials this month.
“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 said.
Congratulations, you two! While Moore isn’t sure what the future holds for her WNBA career, she said she and Jonathan are focusing on helping other wrongfully convicted individuals and encouraging the public to vote. Of course, they’ll also be enjoying every second together!
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