Tennessee man gets life in prison for 2010 murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright

A jury has convicted a Tennessee man for the murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, who was found dead in a field in Memphis in 2010. A 12-person jury found Billy Ray Turner, 51, guilty of first degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of the former NBA big man.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee sentenced Turner to life in prison for murder. Turner will be sentenced on the other counts at a later date.

Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, spoke to reporters after the verdict, saying “it will never be closure because I will never see my son again.”

On July 28, 2010, Wright’s body was found with bullet holes in a field east of Memphis. The former first-round pick had been missing for days before his body was even discovered.

Turner had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. The 51-year-old was in possession of two firearms when he was initially arrested for Wright’s murder in 2017.

Turner was serving a 16-year prison sentence for a firearms charge prior to this latest conviction.

Prosecutors alleged that Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, formulated a plan to have Lorenzen Wright killed and chose Turner and his cousin, Jimmie Martin, to carry out the plan. Prosecutors say Turner was a landscape designer who went to church with Sherra Wright and had a secret romantic relationship with her.

Turner and Sherra Wright were charged in December 2017. Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitating murder in July 2019 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

When Lorenzen Wright was murdered, Martin was already accused of killing his girlfriend. Martin ended up being convicted and is currently in prison. However, he received immunity from prosecution in the Lorenzen Wright murder case.

Martin testified that he and Turner met with Sherra Wright to hatch the plan to assassinate Lorenzen Wright in his condominium in Atlanta. The duo planned to shoot Lorenzen Wright, but when Martin and Turner went to Wright’s, a man was sleeping on the couch. However, the man was not Lorenzen Wright, so both men said they did not kill anyone.

At the time of Lorenzen Wright’s murder, Martin told prosecutors he was in Batesville, Mississippi. Additionally, Martin said he went to the Memphis field with Sherra Wright a few days after Lorenzen Wright’s murder and she confessed.

Sherra Wright allegedly lured her ex-husband to the field by telling him she was going to meet someone there to get money, according to Martin. Martin also alleged that she and Turner ambushed Wright and shot him. Neither Turner nor Sherra Wright testified throughout the trial.

Sherra Wright received a $1 million payout from Lorenzen Wright’s life insurance policy at the time of her death.

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