Ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright whose body was found riddled with bullets in a Mississippi field in 2010 admits she planned his murder and faces up to thirty years behind bars
Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of NBA star Lorenzen Wright in July 2010, during an unexpected court appearance Thursday
Her plea deal also states that she will be eligible for parole after serving 30% of her sentence, which will be in approximately nine years
The body of Lorenzen, a former Power Forward for the LA Clippers, was found riddled with bullet wounds in a marshy field in Memphis, on July 28 2010
An autopsy would confirm that the 34-year-old had in fact been shot 11 times, including two execution-style shots to the head and two to the chest
Wright and Lorenzen finalized their divorce just weeks before his death. After his murder, she cashed in a $1 million life insurance policy taken out in his name
Wright admitted to masterminding a plot to kill her ex-husband and conspiring with another man, Billy Ray Turner, to carry it out
She was the last known person to have seen him alive and in the days that followed she gave a number of conflicting and contradictory accounts of their final interaction to the press.
A 911 call was made from Lorenzen’s phone on the night that he died, in which a dispatcher spoke with the NBA star and recalled hearing 11 gunshots ring out before the line fell silent.
The dispatcher didn’t report the call until after Lorenzen’s body was found, delaying the police’s investigation.
An autopsy released years later would confirm that the 34-year-old had in fact been shot 11 times, including two execution-style shots to the head and two to the chest.
Wright and Lorenzen finalized their divorce just weeks before his death.
After his murder, she cashed in a $1 million life insurance policy taken out in his name.
Although a reward of $21,000 was posted for information about the murder at the time, for over seven years the trail remained cold.
Sherra Wright [left] and Billy Turner [right], a church deacon and small business owner, were arrested and charged with first degree murder when the firearm used to kill Lorenzen was hauled from a Mississippi lake
The following month, Sherra Wright and her alleged accomplice Billy Turner, a church deacon and small business owner, were arrested and charged with first degree murder.
At a hearing in May 2018, prosecutors laid out the case against the pair with the help of a third unindicted suspect, Lorenzen’s cousin Jimmy Martin, who had been convicted of murder in a separate case.
Turner, a landscaper in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, and Sherra Wright attended the same church. Martin recalled how Wright masterminded a plan to kill Lorenzen in Atlanta earlier in 2010 but she failed to execute the plan herself.
She then conspired with Turner to carry out the plot on her behalf in Memphis weeks later.
Martin also told police where to find the firearm used in the eventual shooting and detailed how he helped Turner and Wright clean the crime scene of evidence.
Wright was due to be put on trial for murder alongside Turner on September 16, until she entered the plea on Thursday.
Her attorney, Juli Ganguli discussed her marriage to Lorenzen, describing the slain athlete as an abusive figure who would regularly beat Wright and their six children.
‘Mr. Wright would not leave her alone, and she recruited Billy Turner to kill Mr. Wright,’ Ganguli said.
‘The beatings weren’t just confined to Sherra. The children were the victims of the beatings too. And I get nobody wants to hear that. It would be a “scorched Earth defense,” but in the end it might lead to a first-degree murder conviction, and that’s not something I could risk.’
Marion spoke directly to Sherra Wright, telling her former daughter-in-law she just wants to see her grandchildren.
‘I just hate what happened to my child, but he left some nice-looking granddkids,’ Marion said. ‘They want to see me, I want to see them.’
Marion said she is satisfied with the sentence because Lorenzen’s family can attend parole hearings, but she will push for Wright to serve the full 30 years.
‘My son is serving life,’ Marion said, reasserting her belief that Wright’s sentence should be served full-term.
It took Wright just 10 months to spend $973,000 of the $1 million pay-out she received from his death, buying a new home, expensive trips to New York and two cars.
In 2014, unhappy with the way Sherra was spending their inheritance, Lorenzen’s family successfully lobbied to have her name removed as a trustee of his estate in a bid to preserve the assets for the children.
An Attorney, Aaron Neglia, said Sherra’s guilty plea is all that is needed to begin talks of a civil lawsuit: “The children of Sherra and Lorenzen could file a wrongful death claim against their mother,” said Neglia.
Lorenzen Wright fathered six children, all of whom over the age of 18 except for one.
Neglia said the ones who are adults now have a year to decide to file a wrongful death suit against their mother.
According to Neglia, the youngest child, who is under 18, can also file a wrongful death suit.
“Right now, in the state of Tennessee, it would be the legal guardian of the minor child – which is Sherra Wright’s current husband,” he said.
However, for Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, the only way she could only participate in the wrongful death case, if she takes over legal guardianship of the minor child.
The convicted woman’s co-conspirator and alleged triggerman Billy Ray Turner was originally scheduled to appear in court on an unrelated gun charge on Friday. That court date has now been rescheduled for August 8.
He is set to go to trial on September 16 for his alleged part in Lorenzen’s murder.