The trial of the man accused of murdering former NBA star Lorenzen Wright, who was shot to death almost 12 years ago, will finally begin today in Wright’s hometown of Memphis.
Billy Ray Turner faces charges of first degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in the case and could go to jail for life if convicted. He is already locked up on a 16-year sentence for gun possession back in 2017. Investigators worked for seven years after Wright’s bullet-riddled body was discovered in a field in July 2010 before finally getting a break in the case, ultimately charging Turner and Sherra Wright, Lorenzen Wright’s former wife, with plotting to kill him to collect a $1 million insurance policy.
From the Associated Press
Witnesses said Sherra Wright masterminded a plan to have two men kill her ex-husband at his home in Atlanta, but that attempt failed, according to an affidavit.
She and Turner then conspired to kill him in Memphis, authorities have said. Turner, a landscaper in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, and Sherra Wright attended the same church.
A witness, Jimmie Martin, told authorities about the Atlanta plot and that he helped Turner and Sherra Wright clean the crime scene, authorities said in the affidavit. Martin was convicted of murder in a separate case and could testify during the trial.
Wright pleaded guilty on a charge of facilitation of murder in 2019 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Wright’s 2010 disappearance and death came just a year after he retired from a 14-year NBA career, and was one of the most high-profile crime stories ever in Memphis. The case was profiled in two, two-hour specials on ABC’s 20/20. Sports Illustrated produced a video series on his murder. NBC’s “Dateline” also featured the case.
The 6-foot-11 Wright played center and forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for his career.