After deliberating for two hours, the 12-member jury found Billy Ray Turner guilty in first-degree murder, attempted killing, and conspiracy to kill Wright. Turner was a 6-foot-11-inch center who had played 13 seasons in NBA before retiring after the 2008-2009 season. Turner, 51, was sentenced by Judge Lee Coffee to life imprisonment for his murder conviction. Turner will be sentenced to the remaining charges at a later time.
Coffee called Wright "a holy son" of Memphis, and told his mother Deborah Marion that she would not be able to bring closure, but "celebrate what is good" about her son.
Marion said that she was thrilled with the verdict outside the courtroom. Marion stated that she would visit the grave of her son Monday night.
Marion stated, "It won't be closure because I'll not see my son again." Marion said, "This is just some happiness for me and my loved ones."
This is the most publicized Memphis murder case in history. Wright's body, which had been decomposing for days, was discovered in a Memphis swampy field with bullet wounds on July 28, 2010. Before his body was found, Wright, a 34-year-old father of six, had been missing for several days.
After being found with two guns during Wright's murder in 2017, Turner had already pleaded guilty and admitted to possessing weapons as a felon. Turner is currently serving a 16 year sentence for the separate gun charge.
Prosecutors claim that Wright's exwife, Sherra Wright arranged for her husband to be killed and that Turner and her cousin Jimmie Martin were recruited to assist her.
In December 2017, more than seven years after the murder, Turner and Sherra were indicted. Sherra Wright was sentenced to 30 year imprisonment after entering a surprise guilty plea for facilitation of murder.
Turner was a landscaper who knew Sherra from church and had a secret relationship with her, according to prosecutors.
Martin was being charged with the murder of Wright's girlfriend. He claimed that his cousin paid a portion of Wright’s legal fees. Martin was convicted in this case and is currently in prison. In the Wright case, he has been granted immunity.
Martin stated that Sherra and Turner recruited Martin to kill Lorenzen Wright. John Keith Perry, defense attorney, challenged parts of Martin's testimony. He claimed that Martin's information was fake and filled with lies.
Martin stated that Turner and Martin met up with him to plan the murder and then went to Lorenzen Wright’s condo in Atlanta to shoot him. He was aware that he would be paid.
Turner and Martin, armed with handguns entered Wright's condo in Atlanta through a window. They found Lorenzen Wright asleep on the couch in the living area. Martin testified that it wasn't Wright. Turner and Martin returned to their home without inflicting any injuries.
Paul Hagerman, Martin's prosecutor, said that Martin was in Batesville (Mississippi) at the time of the shooting, just after midnight on July 19, 2010. Martin claimed that he was with Sherra Wright when he went to Memphis. She essentially admitted.
Lorenzen Wright visited Memphis from Atlanta. Sherra Wright testified that she lured her husband to the field by promising him she would meet someone to make some money. Martin claims that Turner and Sherra Wright chased Lorenzen, who jumped over a fence and attempted to flee before being shot in the field.
Lorenzen Wright made a chilling 911 call that captured the pop-pop sound of multiple gunshots.
Martin said that Wright and Turner got rid of evidence at the scene of the shooting and that Turner went with Turner to dispose the weapon in a lake in north Mississippi. Martin stated that he disclosed to detectives where the gun was found in 2012. Later, FBI divers found it.
John Keith Perry, defense attorney, stated that Martin's "crazy and contrived" story wasn't believable in closing arguments. Perry stated that Martin, not Turner, was in Memphis on the night Lorenzen Wright died.
Paul Hagerman, the prosecutor, defended Martin's testimony by pointing out that Martin's immunity agreement required him tell the truth. Also, Martin's statements to investigators and prosecutors were consistent.
Austin Scofield, the prosecutor, said that Sherra Wright told Turner at a meeting at her home that Lorenzen Wright had an affair with her.
Scofield cited witness testimony to support his claim that Turner replied: "What do I want you to do, Sherra?"
Neither Sherra Wright nor Turner testified at the trial.
Although it was unclear what motivated the killings, Hagerman stated that the killers were motivated by jealousy or greed.
Sherra Wright was awarded $1 million by her ex-husband's insurance policy. She settled a 2014 court case over how she spent the insurance money that was meant for their six children.
Marion, Marion Wright's mother, stated that she believes Sherra Wright was motivated by the insurance policy.
"That's all it was about. Marion spoke of money.