Hired Hit Man Man Sentenced To Life For Murdering Former NBA Player Lorenzen Wright, Ex-Wife Ordered Hit

Hired Hit Man Man Sentenced To Life For Murdering Former NBA Player Lorenzen Wright, Ex-Wife Ordered Hit

Lorenzen Wright

Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers' Lorenzen Wright, Sept. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

A Tennessee man was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of former National Basketball Association player Lorenzen Wright, whose bullet-riddled body was found in a field nearly 12 years ago in his hometown of Memphis.

A 12-person jury found Billy Ray Turner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in the death of Wright, who played 13 seasons in the NBA before he retired after the 2008-2009 season.

Wright’s murder sent shockwaves through the NBA league and became the most publicized slaying case in Memphis history. A Memphis native, 6-foot, 11-inch Wright played college basketball at the University of Memphis and was well-liked for his charity work in his hometown, Associated Press reported.

Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, said the sentencing “will never be closure” for her and his family.

“I’ll never see my son again,” Marion told NBC News. “This is just some satisfaction for me and my family.”

Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, masterminded a plan to kill her ex-husband and recruited Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to help her, according to prosecutors.

Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper that she thought her former daughter-in-law was motivated by a $1-million life insurance policy held by Lorenzen Wright.

Martin, a former Navy sailor and convicted killer, testified that Wright’s ex-wife asked him and Turner to kill the former NBA player in 2010 in Atlanta.

Martin 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 get paid.

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After failing several attempts to murder Wright at his house, Martin testified that Sherra lured her ex-husband to a swampy field by telling him that she was going to meet someone there to get some money. 

She and Turner then ambushed and chased Lorenzen Wright, who jumped a fence and tried to run away before they shot him in the field, according to Martin.

Wright’s decomposing body was found in the field in east Mephis 10 days later on July 28, 2010.

Turner and Sherra Wright were indicted in 2017. Sherra entered a surprise guilty plea to facilitation of murder in July 2019 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.