Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was killed in 2010 and a person has been convicted of his murder. According to ESPN on Monday (March 21) a jury found Billy Ray Turner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in the shooting death of Wright. He was sentenced by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee to life in prison on the murder charge and awaits sentencing on the other two.
“It’ll never be closure because I’ll never see my son again,” expressed Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion. “This is just some satisfaction for me and my family.”
At the time of the murder, Jimmie Martin was a suspect in the killing of his girlfriend and claimed his cousin Sherra Wright, the NBA player’s ex-wife helped him cover legal fees. Martin was convicted of killing his girlfriend and sentenced on that case, however, he received immunity in Wright’s shooting. In his testimony, he alleged Sherra Wright recruited him and Turner to kill Lorenzen. Martin’s story initially claimed, the attempt was made at Wright’s Atlanta condominium however the retired NBA player was not home.
Martin testified he went to the Memphis field with Sherra Wright some days after the shooting where she confessed she and Turner had ambushed and chased Lorenzen before shooting him. In 2012, Martin also shared the location of the gun used, which was later found by FBI divers.
In 2019 Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder, and facilitation of a criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder. According to ABC News, Judge Lee Coffee sentenced her to 30 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of her sentence, which would be around nine years.
The Associated Press reported Sherra Wright moved to have her guilty plea thrown out in June 2021. She filed a petition for relief of conviction or sentence and asked Judge Coffee to hold an evidentiary hearing on her petition, claiming that her conviction was “unlawfully induced.” The hearing was scheduled for July 2021.
WREG Memphis reported, however, in a rescheduled August 2021 hearing, she took the stand and withdrew her request to have her case overturned. According to the news outlet, the judge stated she can not seek another post-conviction relief.
Lorenzen Wright was the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft when he was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers. He remained in the NBA until 2009. During his career, he played five seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies (2001–2006), and also played with the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Cleveland Cavaliers.