GMA Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons
WNBA star Maya Moore couldn't be happier to be a married woman.
During an appearance on Good Morning America Wednesday, the 31-year-old athlete opened up to Robin Roberts about her marriage to Jonathan Irons, the man she helped exonerate from a wrongful conviction last year.
"It's been full, to say the least," said Moore, who wed Irons in September 2020. "We get to actually live together and live life together and fulfill some dreams together, have fun and just kind of relaxing after such a long stretch of battle and stress and striving."
Irons — who was released from prison in July after serving two decades before his conviction was overturned last March — said that he's now adjusted to life as a free man after a bit of a rough start.
"The hardest time I had since I've been home, I think, is when I first came home and there is this menu in this restaurant that I didn't know what was what and what the names were," Irons, 41, explained. "I was sitting there looking and the waitress was tapping her foot like, 'Uh what are we waiting on?' I said, 'I have to wait for my wife to come back because she's going to come and explain everything.' ... And she helped me figure it out and ever since then I've been good."
When Irons was 16 years old, he was arrested for the nonfatal shooting of a white homeowner named Stanley Stotler during a burglary, despite the fact that no DNA, fingerprints, footprints, or any physical evidence ever linked him to the crime.
He was convicted by an all-white jury on burglary and assault charges in 1998, though the judge who later vacated his conviction said there was a series of problems with how the case was handled.
Irons was given a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault at the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri.
Now a free man, Irons is filing a civil lawsuit against the authorities who investigated his case and hopes to stop wrongful convictions from happening to others. "I am not the only person that this has happened to," he told Roberts. "This lawsuit is about publicly exposing what has happened to me, sharing the truth, and creating public awareness. And hopefully creating a deterrent to stop this from happening to someone else."
Maya Moore/ Instagram Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons
After meeting Irons through the prison ministry program in 2007, Moore helped bring awareness and attention to his case. She even assisted in funding the hiring of his defense attorney Kent Gipson.
Now, the two-time Olympic gold medalist is determined to fight for prison reform alongside her husband. "The way you change things is one person at a time, one community at a time one person at a time," she said. "Making justice more about restoring things than just paying penalties. And so that's what we are really after, redefining what a win is in our justice system."
As for Moore's basketball career? She told Roberts that she's more focused on prison reform and her marriage and plans to hold off on returning to the sport, for now. She won't play for the 2021 season.
"I'm still trying to take that time to really get settled," she said. "We just got married so I'm still planning on taking some rest and really leaning into this season of enjoying Jonathan and having this first year."