Ex-Wife of Slain NBA Player Lorenzen Wright Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Murder

Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife pleaded guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder in his shooting death nearly a decade ago. The Associated Press reported that Sherra Wright's guilty plea was a shocking development in the long-standing murder case.

Wright also pleaded guilty to facilitation of a criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder in a Shelby County Criminal Court hearing, according to AP. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge Lee Coffee. The judge said she would be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of her sentence, which will come after roughly 9 years.

During the hearing, Wright took questions from Coffee. She answered in a soft voice, according to AP, and claimed she's been medically treated for anxiety and depression in the years since her husband's murder.

Initially, Wright was scheduled to stand before a jury in September for first-degree murder charges against her, AP reported. She faced a life sentence if convicted.

After Wright entered her guilty plea, her husband's mother Deborah Marion, addressed the court, AP stated. During her time, she spoke directly to her former daughter-in-law, asking to see her grandchildren.

"I just hate what happened to my child, but he left some nice-looking kids for their grandma," Marion told Wright.

Her husband's body was discovered full of gunshot wounds in a swampy field in the Memphis, Tennessee area in July 2010. The athlete was missing for 10 days before he was found.

The former NBA player's family agreed to the terms of the plea deal she accepted, prosecutor Paul Hagerman said according to AP.

"This is obviously a violent offense, an offense that has torn apart a family, an offense that's been highlighted throughout Memphis and the media and everything else," Hagerman said after the hearing was complete.

Wright and co-defendant Billy Turner were first charged with first-degree murder in December 2017. Turner isn't due to stand trial until Sept. 16. He has, however, pleaded guilty to a gun charge related to the shooting already.

It's unclear if Wright plans to testify in Turner's case. The pair met at a church both attended, according to AP. Witnesses claim Wright was the mastermind in the plan to kill her husband. She planned t o have two men kill him at home in Atlanta, but the plan didn't play out as it was supposed to, AP reported.

Wright and Turner then conspired to kill her husband in Memphis, the outlet reported. Defense attorney Juni Ganguli told reporters after the hearing that Wright suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, which was the reason she wanted him dead.

"The beatings were consistent, and it led to her face being disfigured," Ganguli said. "She feared that Mr. Wright would never leave her along, and she recruited Billy Turner to kill Mr. Wright."

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Wright was given $1 million from her ex-husband's life insurance policy, according to AP. In 2014, she agreed to a settlement in a court dispute about how the money was spent, instead of using it to care for her children.

The pair dumped one of the guns used in the shooting in a lake in Mississippi, according to authorities. A gun allegedly used in the killing was found in the lake several weeks before charges were filed against the duo.