A Tennessee man has been sentenced for the murder of NBA star Lorenzen Wright. According to CBS Sports, Billy Ray Turner was guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Turner was sentenced to life in prison for murder, and Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee will announce the sentence for the other charges at a later date.
Wight was found dead in a field in Memphis on July 28, 2010. The former first-round pick was missing for days before his body was discovered. Turner previously pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. He was arrested for the murder in 2017 and was in possession of two guns at the time. Turner was already serving a 16-year prison sentence for a gun charge.
Prosecutors alleged Wight's ex-wife, Sherra Wright, plotted to kill Lorenzen Wright and chose Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to execute the crime. They said that Sherra Wright had a secret romantic relationship with Turner, and the two were indicted back in December 2017. Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitation of murder in July 2019 and is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence. At the time of Lorenzen Wight's death, Sherra Wright received a $1 million payment from his life insurance policy.
"It'll never be closure because I'll never see my son again," Lorenzen Wright's mother Deborah Marion told the Associated Press after the sentencing of Turner. "This is just some satisfaction for me and my family." Wright, who died at the age of 34, was selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1996. He then joined the Atlanta Hawks in 1999 and was there for two years. In 2001, the Memphis alum became a member of the Memphis Grizzlies where he spent six years. He re-joined the Hawks in 2006 before joining the Sacramento Kings in 2008. His final NBA season was the 2008-2009 campaign and was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his career, Wright averaged eight points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
"It is a tragic loss for his family and they are in my prayers right now," former Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens said after Wright's death. "Lorenzen was a real congenial young man who played with a lot of enthusiasm. When people were around him, he was a real delight to be around. This is certainly a huge loss for his family and friends."