Sherra Wright, the ex-wife of slain former NBA center Lorenzen Wright, pleaded guilty in a Memphis courtroom to soliciting and arranging his murder, bringing some closure to the nine-year-old case.
In July of 2010, Wright’s bullet-riddled body was found in a field in suburban Memphis. He’d been missing for 10 days before his body was discovered on July 28, and gunshots were heard over the phone when he called 911.
Wright, who’s 48, pleaded guilty on Thursday, July 25, to facilitation of first-degree murder and facilitation of a criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder.
She was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and the judge said she’d be eligible for parole in about nine years. Wright has already spent around 20 months behind bars, which will be credited towards her sentence.
After she initially pleaded not guilty, Wright was supposed to go on trial for first-degree murder and was facing a life sentence if she was found guilty. Her lawyer, Juni Ganguli, said her defense was going to be that her ex-husband beat her for years, and she wanted it to stop.
“The beatings were consistent, and it led to her face being disfigured,” said Ganguli. “She feared that Mr. Wright would never leave her alone, and she recruited Billy Turner to kill Mr. Wright.”
Sherra Wright had been divorced from her former NBA player husband for five months at the time he was killed. She collected a $1 million insurance payout upon his death from a policy set up to benefit the couple’s six children. She went on to quickly spend the $1 million, the Commercial Appeal newspaper reported.
Wright reportedly met Turner at the church they both attended and hatched a plan with him to kill Lorenzen Wright. This was after she tried to get two men to commit the murder inside his Atlanta home, but the plan fell through.
After the murder, the pair got rid of one of the guns in a Mississippi lake, which police found years later. That discovery led to Wright and Turner being charged in December of 2017.
Turner — a Memphis-area landscaper and church deacon — will face trial for the crime on Sept. 16. He’s pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but already pleaded guilty to a gun charge.
Wright’s attorney said she won’t testify against him, and he talked about the guilty plea.
“We have been working towards this for about a month or so,” said Ganguli. “Since we suspected Billy Ray Turner was going to testify against her, our defense was going to be that Sherra recruited Billy to kill Lorenzen because he had beaten Sherra for years.”
Lorenzen Wright played in the NBA for 13 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.