Over two decades after the regrettable incident, the 39-year-old, who was tried as an adult though he was a juvenile at that time, has another shot at life thanks to Kim Kardashian, who, in recent times, has been a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform.
According to The Washington Post, Momolu met the reality TV star and business mogul in July when she visited the D.C. jail he was in to shoot a documentary on the criminal justice system.
Prior to their meeting, Momolu had already petitioned the court for his release under the Reduction Amendment Act. The law grants inmates who were sentenced to jail when they were under 18 years and served not less than 15 years the opportunity to have their sentences reduced.
Having been convinced Momolu is a reformed man after their meeting, Kim wrote a letter to the judge presiding over his petition to vouch for him, The Post further reports.
“I write to humbly request your compassion and humanity in supporting the release of Momolu Stewart,” she wrote. “I have been actively involved in cases across the country and in my view, Momolu is especially deserving of your consideration.”
“He has been rehabilitated and is no longer dangerous to society,” she added. “I also have every confidence that upon his release he will continue to guide others away from a life of crime and continue on his own path to redemption and success.”
“While he cannot go back and change what happened when he was 16 years old, he takes responsibility for the pain he has caused to the victim’s family, and feels true remorse for his role in the crime that resulted in the loss of life,” another part of the letter read.
On Friday, Robert Salerno, the Superior Court Judge hearing Momolu’s petition, suspended his sentence. He walked away a free man on Monday and was welcomed by family and friends, according to Oxygen.com.
“Just appreciate the things that was taken away from me when I was such a young man,” he said. “You know, just smell the trees, just live life, and honor life.”
“Cause I was buried alive,” he further told Oxygen.com. “So now I’ve been resurrected. I’m back and I’m better.”
Momolu, who gained his General Education Diploma and successfully undertook other courses while incarcerated, will, however, serve five years of supervised probation. Should he violate the probation, he could see himself back behind bars to complete his sentence, Judge Salerno said.
Kim Kardashian’s criminal justice reform advocacy has yielded positive results in recent times. Working with attorneys MiAngel Cody and Brittany K. Barnett who spearhead the Buried Alive Project, they were able to facilitate the release of Alice Marie Johnson. She also voiced support for the release of Cyntoia Brown.
“She has the ability to believe in others when the conventional aspect of things would be to shun ‘em,” Momolu said of Kim.
Momolu’s co-defendant, Kareem McCraney, was released in 2018 under the same Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act.