She’s done it again! Momolu Stewart was just released from jail after more than two decades behind bars all thanks to Kim Kardashian. After the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star helped free Alice Marie Johnson from prison in June 2018, Kim has been advocating for prison reform and is currently working on getting a law degree. But who is Momolu and what crimes did he commit? Here’s what we know.
Why Was Momolu Sentenced to Prison?
On New Year’s Day in 1997, Stewart and Kareem McCraney shot Mark Rosebure to death at an apartment building in Southeast Washington. Rosebure tried to reach for something, but McCraney and Stewart shot him multiple times, according to The Washington Post. He was ultimately unarmed. Stewart said Roseburn had robbed them earlier that day, and they wanted to talk to him. But prosecutors said Stewart and McCraney tried to rob Rosebure after they killed him. Stewart was convicted and sentenced to life, but McCraney was released in 2018. McCraney and Stewart’s releases were petitioned under the Reduction Amendment Action.
McCraney was waiting for Stewart after he was able to walk free. “I think people need to consider that one act or one misstep doesn’t define a person’s whole existence,” McCraney said. “You are more than your worst mistake.”
According to Kim’s letter, Stewart’s childhood involved a lot of violence since Stewart’s mother killed his father when he was just six years old, and “Momolu turned to the streets for guidance.”
How Did Kim Help Momolu?
Stewart was a free man just two months after the 38-year-old reality starlet wrote a letter supporting him to Judge Robert Salerno — the D.C. Superior Court Judge. The petition was filed under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act, which The Washington Post describes, “The District law allows inmates who committed their crimes when they were younger than 18 and spent at least 15 years in prison a chance to have their sentences cut. Under the law, they must show signs of rehabilitation behind bars.”
In September, the E! personality wrote a letter to the judge explaining while Stewart should be set free. “While incarcerated, Momolu, in an attempt to somehow turn his life around, even the rest of his natural life would seemingly be spent in prison, took classes including Dr. Howard’s Georgetown Prisoner’s Scholars program,” it read.
She continued, “He helped set up programs to help other prisoners. He took every opportunity to re-imagine his life while staying completely out of trouble.” More than 40 letters (including Kim’s) were submitted since they thought Stewart should receive a second chance.
On October 4, the judge said Mark Rosebure’s family could speak, but they did not attend the hearing. Later that day, good news was revealed. “D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Salerno granted the petition to reduce the life sentence of Stewart, 39, to time served,” The Washington Post reported.
What Did Momolu Do While He Was Locked Up?
During his time in prison, Stewart took college courses through the Georgetown Prison Scholars program. “Momolu has completely transformed,” Dr. Marc Howard, the director of the program, said. “He came into prison over 22 years ago, a traumatized child who was scary and had hurt other people. And now he’s transformed over the past 22 years into a thoughtful, remarkable, wonderful, positive person who has a lot of contribute.”
Did Momolu Meet Kim?
Kim was filming her documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, in July when she met with Stewart at the prison. In September, she wrote a letter to the judge where she rallied for him to be released. “She has the ability to believe in others when the conventional aspect of things would be to shun ‘em,” Stewart said about Kim.
When Was Momolu Released?
He stepped out of the facility after nearly 23 years behind bars on Monday, October 7. Stewart met more than a dozen of his family and friends outside of the D.C. Central Detention Facility, where he couldn’t help but get emotional after he left the building. “Just appreciate the things that was taken away from me when I was such a young man,” he told Oxygen.com. “You know, just smell the trees, just live life and honor life. ‘Cause I was buried alive. So, now I’ve been resurrected. I’m back, and I’m better.”
Stewart’s mother, Gloria Smith, and stepfather, Ronald Smith, were waiting for him to get out. “It’s been a beautiful transformation,” Ronald said. “I’ve seen him come from a troubled, emotional youth to a secure, mature man.”
Stewart will be on supervised probation for five years. If Stewart commits another crime or violates his probation, he might have to serve the rest of his original sentence.