Home US SportsNBA Jury convicts Billy Ray Turner in slaying of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright

Jury convicts Billy Ray Turner in slaying of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A jury on Monday convicted a Tennessee man within the slaying of former NBA participant Lorenzen Wright, whose bullet-riddled physique was present in a area practically 12 years in the past in his hometown of Memphis.

The 12-person jury deliberated for about two hours earlier than it discovered Billy Ray Turner responsible of first-degree homicide, tried homicide and conspiracy within the demise of Wright, a 6-foot, 11-inch heart who performed 13 seasons within the NBA earlier than he retired after the 2008-09 marketing campaign. Shelby County Prison Courtroom Decide Lee Espresso sentenced Turner, 51, to life in jail for the homicide conviction. He will likely be sentenced for the opposite prices at a later date.

Espresso referred to as Wright “a sacred son” of Memphis and told his mother, Deborah Marion, that the trial might not bring her closure but to “rejoice the nice” about her son.

Exterior the courtroom, Marion advised reporters she was elated with the decision. She stated she would go to her son’s grave Monday night time.

“It’ll never be closure, because I’ll never see my son again,” Marion said. “That is just a few satisfaction for me and my household.”

The slaying is without doubt one of the most extremely publicized homicide instances in Memphis historical past. Wright’s decomposing physique was discovered riddled with bullet wounds in a swampy area in east Memphis on July 28, 2010. The 34-year-old father of six had been lacking for days earlier than his physique was found.

Turner had already pleaded responsible to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon after he was discovered with two weapons when he was arrested in Wright’s killing in 2017. Turner is serving a 16-year jail sentence on the separate gun cost.

Prosecutors allege Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, masterminded a plan to kill her ex-husband and recruited Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to assist her.

Turner and Sherra Wright had been indicted in December 2017, greater than seven years after the killing. Sherra Wright entered a shock responsible plea to facilitation of homicide in July 2019 and was sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Turner is a landscaper who knew Sherra Wright from church and, in response to prosecutors, had a secret romantic relationship together with her.

On the time of Wright’s slaying, Martin was going through prices of killing his girlfriend, and he stated his cousin helped pay a part of his authorized charges. Martin was convicted and is at the moment serving jail time in that case. He has acquired immunity from prosecution within the Wright case.

Martin testified that Sherra Wright recruited him and Turner to kill Lorenzen Wright. Elements of his testimony had been challenged by protection lawyer John Keith Perry, who stated the knowledge Martin gave to investigators was a farce and filled with lies.

Martin testified that he and Turner met with Sherra Wright to plan the killing and went to Lorenzen Wright’s condominium in Atlanta to shoot him, with an understanding that he would receives a commission.

Armed with handguns, Turner and Martin went to Wright’s rental in Atlanta, entered by a window and located somebody sleeping on the sofa in the lounge — however it was not Lorenzen Wright, Martin testified. Turner and Martin returned dwelling with out killing anybody.

Martin advised prosecutor Paul Hagerman that he was in Batesville, Mississippi, on the time of the taking pictures simply after midnight on July 19, 2010. Martin stated he went to the Memphis area with Sherra Wright some days after the taking pictures and she or he basically confessed.

Lorenzen Wright was visiting Memphis from Atlanta. Sherra Wright stated she lured her ex-husband to the sphere by telling him that she was going to satisfy somebody there to get some cash, Martin testified. In keeping with Martin, she stated that she and Turner ambushed and chased Lorenzen Wright, who jumped a fence and tried to run away earlier than they shot him within the area.

The jury heard a chilling 911 name made by Lorenzen Wright that captured the pop-pop-pop sound of a number of gunshots.

Martin additionally stated Turner and Wright removed proof from the taking pictures scene and he went with Turner to get rid of the weapon by dumping it in a north Mississippi lake. Martin stated he advised detectives in 2012 the place the gun was positioned. It was later discovered by FBI divers.

In closing arguments, Perry stated Martin’s “crazy, contrived” story was not believable. Perry said Martin — not Turner — was in Memphis the night Lorenzen Wright was shot.

Prosecutor Paul Hagerman defended Martin’s testimony, saying Martin’s immunity agreement required him to tell the truth and statements given to investigators and prosecutors have been consistent.

Prosecutor Austin Scofield said Sherra Wright told Turner during a meeting at her house that Lorenzen Wright had a hit out on her.

Citing witness testimony, Scofield said Turner responded: “What would you like me to do, Sherra?”

Neither Turner nor Sherra Wright testified throughout the trial.

A motive for the slaying was not clear, although Hagerman stated the killers had been pushed by jealousy and greed.

Sherra Wright acquired $1 million from her ex-husband’s life insurance coverage coverage and settled a court docket dispute in 2014 over how she spent the insurance coverage cash meant to profit their six youngsters.

Marion, the slain participant’s mom, stated she’s satisfied the insurance coverage coverage was Sherra Wright’s motivation.

“That is what it was about. Cash,” Marion stated.

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