In a long-awaited verdict that has brought both relief and closure to the family of former NBA star Lorenzen Wright, a Memphis jury has found Billy Ray Turner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy. This verdict comes nearly 12 years after the shocking murder of the beloved basketball player, whose death sent shockwaves through the sports world. Let’s dive into the details of this case, its complex history, and the path to justice.
The Mysterious Disappearance and Tragic End
Lorenzen Wright was last seen on July 18, 2010, while visiting his children at his ex-wife’s home in Collierville, near Memphis, shortly before midnight. The events that followed would unravel a chilling mystery. Gunshots were heard during Wright’s 911 call on July 19, 2010, and his life was tragically cut short. His body was discovered in a wooded area in southeast Memphis nine days later. The world of basketball lost one of its own, and a community mourned the loss of a local hero.
For years, the case went cold, leaving many unanswered questions and a grieving family desperate for answers. It wasn’t until December 2017 that significant progress was made when Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, and Billy Ray Turner were arrested in connection with his murder.
Sherra Wright’s Dark Secrets Unveiled
In 2019, Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitation to commit first-degree murder and facilitation to commit attempted first-degree murder. In exchange for her plea, she received a 30-year sentence. The revelation of her involvement in the murder shocked many who had known the couple during their 13-year marriage.
This guilty plea marked a turning point in the case, as the spotlight shifted towards Billy Ray Turner, who had been arrested alongside Sherra Wright in 2017. It would take three more years for a jury to reach a verdict on Turner’s role in the crime.
Billy Ray Turner’s Guilty Verdict
After three hours of deliberation, the jury found Billy Ray Turner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and conspiracy. This verdict finally brings some measure of justice to Lorenzen Wright’s family, who have waited patiently for closure.
In the aftermath of the verdict, Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, expressed her relief, saying, “Thank you, Jesus! He can suffer like I’ve been suffering all this time, without my son. It’s a celebration for me.” Her emotions were a mix of anguish and triumph, reflecting the long and painful journey to justice.
The Legacy of Lorenzen Wright
Lorenzen Wright’s impact extended far beyond the basketball court. He was a towering figure both in stature and character. The Los Angeles Clippers drafted him in 1996 as the seventh overall pick, launching a 13-season career in the NBA that saw him play for various teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Cleveland Cavaliers. His untimely death came just a year after retiring from professional basketball.
Wright’s legacy transcends his achievements on the court. He was known for his philanthropic efforts, founding the Sierra Simone Wright Scholarship Fund after the tragic loss of his infant daughter in 2003. He returned to the University of Memphis during the summer of 2003 to complete his degree, setting an example for others with his dedication to education.
A Twisted Conspiracy Unveiled
The details surrounding Lorenzen Wright’s murder are nothing short of chilling. According to investigations, Sherra Wright, his ex-wife, played a central role in orchestrating his murder. Her motive? Greed and jealousy. Sherra had spent a staggering $1 million of the insurance money meant for her children with Lorenzen after his death, which raised suspicions about her involvement.
It was revealed that Sherra had recruited her cousin Jimmie Martin and her yardman, Billy Ray Turner, who had a sexual relationship with her, to carry out the assassination. Jimmie Martin, although convicted in 2012 for the murder of his girlfriend, provided crucial information that led investigators to the murder weapon and implicated Sherra and Turner in the crime.
A Horrifying Deception
Based on Martin’s testimony and other evidence, it became evident that Sherra Wright was present when Lorenzen was killed. The wooded area where his body was found had been a secretive rendezvous point for the couple, shrouded in deception. Messages between them revealed a disturbing pattern of luring, suggesting that Lorenzen had no reason to suspect foul play.
While direct, concrete evidence linking Sherra to the murder may have been lacking, the circumstantial evidence, along with Jimmie Martin’s statements and phone records, painted a compelling narrative of her involvement. The case against her began to build, slowly but steadily.
Sherra Wright’s Fate and the Road Ahead
In December 2017, Sherra Wright-Robinson was arrested, setting in motion a series of legal proceedings that would ultimately lead to her pleading guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder in 2019. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison. However, her ex-daughter-in-law, Deborah Marion, insists that Sherra has yet to reveal the full truth of her involvement and continues to deny any wrongdoing.
As of May 2022, Sherra remains incarcerated at the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. Despite her tearful appeal for early release and expressions of remorse, her request was denied, and her next parole hearing is scheduled for 2027. If she serves her full sentence, she will be 75 years old upon her release.
Deborah Marion remains unwavering in her pursuit of justice, vowing to attend every one of Sherra’s parole hearings. She is determined to ensure that Sherra serves the entirety of her 30-year sentence.
The verdict in the Lorenzen Wright murder case brings an end to a long and painful chapter for his family and the Memphis community. Justice may have been delayed, but it has finally been served. The legacy of Lorenzen Wright, both as a basketball star and a philanthropist, will endure, and his tragic story will serve as a reminder of the enduring pursuit of truth and justice in the face of adversity.
A1: Lorenzen Wright was a prominent figure in the basketball world, playing 13 seasons in the NBA for various teams. He was known for his skill and dedication to the game.
Q2: What role did Sherra Wright play in Lorenzen Wright’s murder?
A2: Sherra Wright, Lorenzen’s ex-wife, was found guilty of facilitating his murder. She orchestrated the crime, motivated by greed and jealousy.
A3: The key evidence included testimony from Jimmie Martin, who was involved in the crime, and phone records that suggested Sherra’s involvement.
Q4: What is Sherra Wright’s current status?
A4: Sherra Wright is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for her role in the murder of Lorenzen Wright. Her request for early release was denied