Sports

Lorenzen Wright’s Brutal Murder Will be Relived With Upcoming Trial

While Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife sits in prison after entering a surprise guilty plea in July to the facilitation of his murder in 2010, the man charged with conspiring with Sherra Wright to kill the former NBA player awaits trial. The trial of Billy Ray Turner is scheduled to begin Oct. 26, which will trigger haunting memories of Wright’s death in 2010. Lorenzen Wright, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1996, had been missing for 10 days before his body, loaded with bullet wounds, was found July 28, 2010.

Lorenzen Wright’s NBA career

Lorenzen Wright was a 6-foot-11 center who was selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft. The Los Angeles Clippers selected Wright with the seventh overall pick out of Memphis. Wright played 13 seasons in the NBA for five different teams.

Wright was a solid and steady NBA player who suited up for the Clippers for the first three seasons of his NBA career. His best season with the Clippers came during his second season when he averaged nine points and 8.8 rebounds per game. After three seasons in LA, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for a pair of first-round draft picks.

He played just two seasons with the Hawks but averaged a career-high 12.1 points per game in his second season with the team. The Hawks traded Wright to the Vancouver Grizzlies during the 2001 offseason (they moved to Memphis for the 2001-02 season). Wright spent the bulk of his career in Memphis, playing five seasons with the Grizzlies. He rounded out his career by going back to Atlanta and then also spending a year with the Sacramento Kings and a year with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sherra Wright pleads guilty

In July of 2019, Sherra Wright, Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife, pleaded guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder in the death of her husband. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Wright was scheduled to face a jury in September of 2019 on first-degree murder charges. She faced a life sentence if she was convicted.

In an interview with The Commercial Appeal, Sherra Wright said, despite her guilty plea, not everything was what it seems.  “I think to a certain degree everyone in his family is guilty, from covering up things for him to pushing me into — I’m not saying pushing me into a position with me where I have to even do this,” she told the paper. “I’m just going to say because of my children, I have made this decision, and because of them I’m not going to go into many more details right now, but I’m just going to say everything is not what it seems.”

Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner were charged with first-degree murder in 2017. Turner has pleaded not guilty but did plead guilty to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Turner’s trial on the murder charge was originally set for September of 2019 but was pushed back when more evidence was produced.

Wright’s disappearance and death

Lorenzen Wright went missing in July of 2010. According to an article in The Commercial Appeal, Sherra Wright said her ex-husband left their home on July 18th at approximately 10:30 p.m. with drugs and an unspecified amount of money. Sherra Wright said he was going to “flip something for $110,000.”

The article states Lorenzen Wright called 911 the following night from a location near the TPC Southwind golf course. Days later, his badly decomposed body was found in that area, sending shockwaves through the Memphis area. “He was a young man who never forgot who he was, where he came from, the values that shaped him and the people who encouraged him along the way,” said then-Memphis Mayor AC Wharton.

Lorenzen Wright left behind six children, his mother Deborah, and his father Herb. Former college teammate Penny Hardaway was one of approximately 200 people who showed up at the crime scene when Wright’s body was found. “I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It’s just sad because we lost a good person and a brother,” Hardaway said then.