The mother of slain NBA player Lorenzen Wright has spoken about the shock she felt four years ago, learning that her son’s ex-wife managed to avoid a murder trial.
In July 2019, Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of her ex, facilitating first-degree murder and attempted murder at an earlier date, but only after dodging charges for years.
Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, was aghast at that result.
“I came here thinking it was for a trial, but then they called us into a room back there and said, wait a minute, we made a deal. It just blew me away,” he recalled on NBC Dateline’s “The Murder of Lorenzen Wright,” which will air Friday night at 9 p.m. ET.
‘How is this possible!’ Marion continued. ‘I’m thinking, I’m going to come and listen to everything that happened step by step. But not.’
Deborah Marion expected her son’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, to stand trial for murder
Sherra Wright (left) and Lorenzen Wright read Christmas books to children during a Grizzlies Read to Achieve event at Borders Bookstore on December 17, 2003
Sherra Wright listens during a court hearing for Judge Lee Coffee on July 25, 2019
Lorenzen Wright played for 13 seasons as forward and center in the NBA, including several for the Grizzlies in Memphis, where he was born and raised.
On July 28, 2010, Wright’s decomposing body was found riddled with gunshot wounds in a swampy field in East Memphis.
The 34-year-old father of six had been missing for days before his body was discovered.
Billy Ray Turner and Sherra Wright were indicted for first-degree murder in December 2017, more than seven years after the murder.
While Wright pleaded guilty to lesser charges than murder, Turner claimed his innocence and went to trial. He was convicted in March 2022 of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Turner is a landscaper who knew Sherra Wright from church and, according to prosecutors, was in a secret romantic relationship with her. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon as a convicted felon after he was found with two weapons when he was arrested for Wright’s murder in 2017.
The motive for the murder was not made clear during the trial, although prosecutors said the killers were motivated by jealousy and greed. Sherra Wright received $1 million from her ex-husband’s life insurance policy and settled a court dispute in 2014 over how she spent the insurance money meant to benefit her six children.
Prosecutors allege that Sherra Wright devised a plan to kill her ex-husband and enlisted Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to help her.
At the time of Wright’s murder, Martin was facing charges for killing his girlfriend and said his cousin helped pay part of his legal fees. Martin was convicted and is currently serving prison time for that case. He has received immunity from prosecution in the Wright case.
Billy Ray Turner (right in 2018), an incarcerated Tennessee man, was convicted of the 2010 murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
Sherra Wright, ex-wife of Lorenzen Wright, cries during a memorial service honoring the life of Lorenzen Wright on August 4, 2010 at FedExForum in Memphis.
According to Martin, he and Turner met with Sherra Wright to plan the murder and went to Lorenzen Wright’s Atlanta condo to shoot her, with the understanding that he would be paid.
Armed with guns, Turner and Martin went to Wright’s Atlanta condo, entered a window and found someone sleeping on the living room couch, but it wasn’t Lorenzen Wright, Martin testified. Turner and Martin returned home without killing anyone.
Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, had long suspected that Sherra was behind her son’s murder. Suspicions of her grew stronger in 2014 when Sherra wrote a book titled ‘Mr. Tell Me Anything’ (pictured) in which a basketball player’s wife murders her husband.
Sherra Wright said she lured her ex-husband to the field by telling him she would meet someone there to get some money, Martin testified. According to Martin, she said she and Turner ambushed and chased Lorenzen Wright, who jumped a fence and tried to flee before being shot in the field.
Marion had long suspected Sherra was behind her son’s murder, according to a 2018 Sports Illustrated report.
His suspicions grew stronger in 2014 when Sherra wrote a book titled ‘Mr. Tell Me Anything’, in which the wife of a professional basketball player murders her husband.
According to a summary on Amazon, the main female character grows frustrated with “the constant chaos surrounding women, new acquaintances, family, and greed.”
Last year, the Tennessee Parole Board voted to deny parole to Wright, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The decision came after three of the seven board members agreed to deny his release based on the seriousness of his crime, board spokesman Dustin Krugel said in an email to The Associated Press.
“It’s a privilege, and it’s not something I should get or something I should get,” Sherra Wright said tearfully during her hearing, as seen in video obtained by the Memphis Fox affiliate. And today I ask for your mercy.
Maron was among those who spoke out against his early release.