The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Turner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in Wright’s death.
Judge Lee Coffee sentenced Turner to life in prison for the murder conviction. He will be sentenced for the other charges at a later date.
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Wright was a beloved Memphian who played basketball for two years at Memphis State before joining the NBA. He also briefly played for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Atlanta Hawks.
Wright was last seen on July 18, 2010. A Germantown dispatcher answered a 911 call from the basketball star’s cell phone the next day. The dispatcher heard 11 gunshots ring out.
This verdict came as no surprise to Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion.
For 12 years, she has said she knew her ex-daughter-in-law Sherra Wright played a part in the murder of her son.
Even with no witness to put Billy Ray Turner at the scene of Lorenzen Wright’s murder, the prosecution’s evidence was enough to help the jury with their decision.
“You fool. How you let a woman mess your life up? She tricked you like she was going to marry you and married two other guys and you were neither one of them,” Marion said of Turner following the verdict.
Throughout the seven-day trial, seven witnesses took the stand. Most played roles in the investigation, gathering specific evidence showing how Turner, Sherra Wright, and Jimmie Martin communicated about the plot to kill Lorenzen Wright.
The star witness of the trial, Jimmie Martin, testified how he and Turner took a trip to Atlanta and planned to kill Lorenzen in his condo.
“Sherra is no good for nothing. He didn’t do it for himself. He would’ve did it for nothing other than some pennies Sherra would’ve given him,” Marion said when asked how Martin describing going to Atlanta to kill Lorenzen made her feel.
Martin testified he wasn’t there to witness the murder of Lorenzen the night he was killed but said he heard the story of how it was done from Sherra.
“You heard how they described your son running through that rural area like a deer?” Marion was asked.
“They were not lying. He run like that. That’s how I know he saw him. Because my son could actually run like a deer,” she said.
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Even without a witness to put Turner as one of the gunmen who killed Lorenzen, prosecutors presented key evidence of Turner’s cell phone being in the same area as Lorenzen the night he made a 911 call.
Records also show Turner made calls to Martin just two minutes after the 911 call.
“It was important for a couple of reasons. It was important to show Billy Turner’s phone was not at home the night he said it was supposed to be at home. It was on the move during a critical time period,” Shelby County ADA Paul Hagerman said during a news conference after the verdict.
Lorenzen’s mother, Deborah Marion had more to say after the verdict. She didn’t just talk about Billy Turner. She has some words for Sherra Wright as well.
“That’s what it was about — money. Y’all need to go talk to the ex-wife. She the only one who is going to benefit,” Marion said.
“You have to know Sherra. She’s one in a million. She’ll tell you her shirt is orange when you know it’s purple. Then you start to thinking, is it orange? because she would have convinced you.”
"Elated. I haven't felt this good in years, 12 years to be exact," Lorenzen Wright's mother speaks after Billy Ray Turner was found guilty of her son's murder. fox13.tv/3L3xjNs
Marion then spoke more about the prosecution’s star witness, Jimmie Martin.
When asked if more people should be in prison for her son’s murder, Marion said, “Jimmy. That’s it.”
When asked if she thought he should have faced charges, Marion said, “Yes. He saw him jumping like a deer.”
Marion said she believes Jimmie was at the murder scene.