‘I’ve Been Resurrected:’ Inmate Championed By Kim Kardashian West Released From D.C. Prison
Stephanie Gomulka, Oxygen.com
A D.C. man who received the support of Kim Kardashian West took his first steps of freedom Monday afternoon after more than two decades behind bars.
Momolu Stewart was emotional as he met a group of more than a dozen family and friends outside of the D.C. Central Detention Facility. Stewart was serving a life sentence for a murder he committed while he was a juvenile. Now more than double his age from the time he committed the crime, Stewart says the first thing he wants to do is spend time with his mother and other family members.
“Just appreciate the things that was taken away from me when I was such a young man,” Stewart told Oxygen.com. “You know, just smell the trees, just live life, and honor life.”
Stewart said it means the world to him to get a second chance.
“Cause I was buried alive,” Stewart said. “So now I’ve been resurrected. I’m back and I’m better.”
Superior Court Judge Robert Salerno suspended Stewart’s sentences at a hearing Friday.
Although the sentences Stewart was facing would not be technically changed, the suspension means Stewart will now be released and have five years of supervised probation, Judge Salerno explained in court. If Stewart commits another crime or violates his probation, he could possibly have to continue to serve out the rest of his original sentences.
Judge Salerno also detailed some requirements Stewart will likely have to fulfill, including keeping a job.
Stewart’s mother Gloria Smith and stepfather Ronald Smith were there for his release. Ronald Smith told Oxygen.com Stewart has already received job offers.
“It’s been a beautiful transformation,” Ronald Smith said. “I’ve seen him come from a troubled, emotional youth to a secure, mature man.”
Stewart was convicted and sentenced to life for the New Year’s Day 1997 shooting death of Mark Rosebure. Stewart’s co-defendant in the case, Kareem McCraney, was released previously in 2018. Both of their releases were petitioned under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act.
Stewart embraced McCraney and their mutual friend Halim Flowers when he was released. McCraney said it is proof that people have the capacity to change.
“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.”
Flowers, who was released from prison earlier this year, said he is excited for what they all can contribute to the public.
While Stewart was incarcerated, he took college courses through the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program. The director of the program, Dr. Marc Howard, said he’s excited to welcome Stewart back into society.
“Momolu has completely transformed,” Dr. Howard 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 to contribute.”
This past summer, Kim Kardashian West met Stewart at the D.C. jail and later wrote a letter in support his release.
Stewart had a childhood marked by violence, according to Kardashian West’s letter. She explained Stewart’s mother killed his father when he was six and “Momolu turned to the streets for guidance.”
Stewart says he was honored by her support.
“She has the ability to believe in others when the conventional aspect of things would be to shun ‘em,” Stewart said.
His case is set to be featured in her upcoming Oxygen documentary “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project.”