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Maya Moore startled basketball when she stepped away from the WNBA before the season. She has spent a lot of her time trying to help a family friend overturn a conviction.

Jonathan Irons has been incarcerated since 1997, convicted in the nonfatal shooting of a homeowner during a burglary. He is serving a 50-year sentence but has asked a judge to reopen his case. He is scheduled for a hearing Oct. 9 in Missouri.

Moore plans to be in the courtroom. She said there was no physical evidence — no DNA, fingerprints or footprints — linking Irons to the crime.

“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 by phone Sunday night. “This hearing will hopefully give us a perfect opportunity to show why this conviction lacks integrity for so many different reasons.”

Moore has kept a low profile during her time away from basketball. She had done only one interview , talking to The New York Times over the course of a few months to chronicle Irons’ story.

Irons, then 16, had been seen with a gun in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon on the evening of Jan. 14, 1997, according to court records cited by the Times. The victim returned home and confronted a burglar, the records said. Shots were fired and the victim was hit in the right temple. A week later, Irons was arrested. The detective in the case said Irons confessed, but the detective wasn’t available to be cross-examined at trial because he was ill. He has since died.

Moore spent time over the weekend in Washington speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus. She started a petition on Change.org to further spread the word about Irons.

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