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WNBA player Moore celebrates after helping overturn conviction of Missouri man

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MISSOURI (KTTC) -- Two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Minnesota Lynx player Maya Moore is celebrating the release of a Missouri man from prison.

Jonathan Irons was convicted of burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun in 1998. He had been behind bars for two decades, with 30 years ahead of him.

Moore worked tirelessly to get Irons released from prison.

Their relationship began when her father was a prison minister who counseled Irons. However, she met him in 2007 during a visit that was part of a prison ministry program.

After 22 years, new revelations in his case.

St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar declined a re-trial because of non-sufficient evidence.

St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar

"There were certain errors in the trial and certain things that if we were to re-try him again, it would be really impossible to do so," Lohmar said.

He stated that there are three areas of concern, the testimony at trial of finger prints where two reports were made.

"The second report for reasons unknown to us was never disclosed to the defense. That severely impacted the defenses right to a fair trial," Lohmar added. "I think there was certainly a element of coercion so to speak maybe subtle coercion in how he was able to identify Mr. Irons."

That report excluded the fingerprints belongings to Irons, the second issue for Lohmar, an interview that was done with no paper trail and was not recorded, and lastly the identification of Irons being based on circumstantial evidence and an alleged confession.

Maya Moore

Along with Irons team of lawyers, Moore walked away for two years from the WNBA to work on this case.

"Hopefully our story can be at the very minimum a direction of foundation for people who want to get started and do something in the space," Moore said.

Moore's hard work finally paid off and she dropped to her knees as Irons walked away a free man on Wednesday.

Jay Lenox, one of Iron's attorneys spoke at a news conference Thursday morning excited for his client.

"It's a whole new chapter for him. I'm so happy for him he is so faith based and this is going to be a wonderful life he will lead," he said.

As for Moore dribbling a ball again soon?

"One of the strongest lanes for me to run in is the prosecution reform lane," Moore said.

She also stated she will take another full year off to spend time with her family, before lacing up as number 23 on the basketball court.

Minnesota Lynx head coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve statement

In a statement, Minnesota Lynx head coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve said, "For the last few years, she committed to Irons' case and this is another championship for her. She went on to express her anger that Moore had to leave her profession to take on a criminal justice system that Reeve said wrongfully convicts and sentences black and brown communities.

Irons will live with Moore's godparents with a record never showing he was in prison.

When reporters asked his attorney Lenox if Irons will take legal action against the state of Missouri, he referred reporters to his other attorneys in Kansas City.

Ubah Ali

Ubah Ali

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