By LZ GRANDERSON COLUMNIST MARCH 14, 20205:31 PM
The name Jonathan Irons probably doesn’t mean anything to you.
He hasn’t been on a sports team, on tour or on a YouTube channel. In fact, for the past 23 years he hasn’t been much of anywhere. In 1998, Irons, a teenager at the time, was convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison despite the lack of fingerprints, DNA evidence or corroborating witnesses placing him at the scene.
This, a Missouri maximum security prison, is where Maya Moore found him.
Now hers is a name you should know: four Final Four appearances, two NCAA titles, two Olympic gold medals, four WNBA titles, five ESPYs. In 2011, Moore became the first women’s player to sign with Jordan Brand. In 2017, Sports Illustrated named her “the greatest winner in the history of women’s basketball.”
In 2019 — at age 29 and still very much in her prime — Moore left it all behind, walking away from the Minnesota Lynx. “There are different ways to measure success,” she wrote in the Players’ Tribune.
On Monday, Judge Daniel Green vacated Irons’ sentence, 23 years in, citing evidence that was not disclosed by prosecutors in the initial trial. Only then did we fully understand how Moore measures success. She had committed the last several months working with lawyers who sought to overturn Irons’ sentence.
The attorney general’s office and prosecutors have roughly 45 days to appeal or retry the case. Still, it’s a positive development for a man who was facing another 27 years in prison.
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