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Missouri man sues officers after conviction overturned

March 9, 2021 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Black man who spent 23 years in prison before his conviction was overturned has sued the St. Charles County law enforcement authorities who his attorney says framed him.

Jonathan Irons, who is now in his 40s, was convicted in 1998 for burglary and assault of a homeowner in O’Fallon, Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Irons was released in July after a judge overturned the conviction. He is now married to WNBA star Maya Moore, who paused her career to help free him and reform the criminal justice system.

The homeowner, who was shot in the head and arm in 1997, had initially told police he remembered only that the intruder was a Black male, according to the lawsuit.

Iron’s attorneys contend police manipulated the homeowner into identifying Irons, presented a false confession and ignored fingerprint evidence. His lawsuit alleges officers assaulted Irons, who was then a teenager, during his interrogation.

The Missouri Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s appeals seeking to block Iron’s release.

St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar declined to retry him, citing a lack of fingerprint evidence and a lack of interrogation records.

The lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.