The mother of slain NBA player Lorenzen Wright has spoken out about the shock she felt four years ago when she learned that her son’s ex-wife managed to avoid a murder trial.
In July 2019, Sherra Wright entered a guilty plea to the 2010 murder of her ex, to facilitating first-degree murder and attempted murder at an earlier date — but only after years of evading charges.
Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, was appalled by that outcome.
“I came here thinking it was a trial, but then they called us in a room back there and said, hold on, we’ve got a deal. It just blew me away,” she recalled on NBC Dateline’s “The Murder of Lorenzen Wright,” which airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET.
‘How is this possible!’ Marion continued. “I think, I come to hear everything that happened step by step. But no.’
Deborah Marion expected her son’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, to stand trial for murder
Sherra Wright (left) and Lorenzen Wright read holiday books to children at a Grizzlies Read to Achieve event at Borders Bookstore on December 17, 2003
Sherra Wright listens during a hearing in Judge Lee Coffee’s court on July 25, 2019
Lorenzen Wright played 13 seasons as a 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 charged with first-degree murder in December 2017, more than seven years after the murder.
While Wright pleaded guilty to lesser charges than murder, Turner maintained his innocence and went to trial. He was convicted of first degree murder in March 2022 and sentenced to life in prison.
Turner is a landscape gardener who knew Sherra Wright from church and, according to prosecutors, had a secret romantic relationship with her. He had already pleaded guilty to possession of a gun as a convicted felon after he was found with two guns when he was arrested in Wright’s 2017 murder.
A motive for the murder was not made clear at trial, although prosecutors said the killers were driven by jealousy and greed. Sherra Wright received $1 million from her ex-husband’s life insurance policy and in 2014 settled a court dispute over how she spent the insurance money intended to benefit their six children.
Prosecutors allege that Sherra Wright plotted to kill her ex-husband and recruited Turner and her cousin Jimmie Martin to help her.
At the time of Wright’s murder, Martin was charged with murdering his girlfriend, and said his cousin paid some of his legal fees. Martin was convicted and is currently serving a prison sentence in that case. He is exempt from prosecution in the Wright case.
Billy Ray Turner (exactly 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, weeps 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 assassination and went to Lorenzen Wright’s Atlanta condominium to shoot him, agreeing that he would be paid.
Armed with handguns, Turner and Martin went to Wright’s Atlanta apartment, entered through 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 Sherra was behind her son’s murder. Her suspicions grew stronger in 2014 when Sherra wrote a book titled ‘Mr. Tell Me Anything’, (photo) in which a basketball player’s wife kills 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 run before shooting him in the field.
Marion had long suspected Sherra was behind her son’s murder, according to a 2018 Sports Illustrated report.
Her suspicions grew stronger in 2014 when Sherra wrote a book titled ‘Mr. Tell Me Anything’, in which the wife of a professional basketball player kills her husband.
According to a synopsis on Amazon, the female protagonist becomes frustrated with “the constant chaos surrounding women, new acquaintances, family and greed.”
Last year, the Tennessee Board of Parole voted to deny parole for Wright, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The decision was made after three of the seven board members agreed to deny her release based on the severity of her offense, board spokesman Dustin Krugel said in an email to The Associated Press.
“It’s a privilege, and it’s not something I have to receive or something I should receive,” a tearful Sherra Wright said at her hearing, as shown in a video obtained by Memphis’ Fox affiliate. “And I ask for your mercy today.”
Maron was among those who spoke against her early release.