AP

Man sentenced on lesser charges in NBA player’s slaying

Jul 8, 2022, 12:41 PM | Updated: 4:23 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man serving life in prison after his first-degree murder conviction in the slaying of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was sentenced Friday on lesser charges of conspiracy and attempted murder in the 12-year-old case.

Shelby County Judge Lee Coffee sentenced Billy Ray Turner to 25 years in prison for both the conspiracy charge and the attempted murder charge. Turner was convicted March 21 in the fatal shooting of Wright, a 6-foot, 11-inch center who played 13 seasons in the NBA before he retired after the 2008-2009 season.

Coffee sentenced Turner, 51, to life in prison on the day of his conviction. Turner already was serving a 16-year sentence for possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. Turner was found with two guns when he was arrested in 2017 in Wright’s killing and he pleaded guilty in 2019.

The judge decided that the 25-year-sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time. When added to the 16-year sentence for the gun charge, Turner essentially has been sentenced to life plus 41 years in prison, with the possibility of parole, Coffee said.

The slaying is one of the most highly publicized murder cases in Memphis history. Wright’s decomposing body was found riddled with bullet wounds in a swampy field in east Memphis on July 28, 2010. The 34-year-old father of six had been missing for days before his body was discovered.

During Turner’s trial, prosecutors said Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, masterminded a plan to kill her ex-husband and recruited Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to help her.

Turner and Sherra Wright were indicted in December 2017, more than seven years after the killing. Sherra Wright entered a surprise guilty plea to facilitation of murder in July 2019 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Turner is a landscaper who knew Sherra Wright from church and, according to prosecutors, had a secret romantic relationship with her.

At the time of Wright’s slaying, Martin was facing charges of killing his girlfriend, and he said his cousin helped pay part of his legal fees. Martin was convicted and is currently serving prison time in that case.

Martin received immunity from prosecution in the Wright case. He testified that he went with Turner to kill Wright in Atlanta in a failed murder attempt. Martin also testified that he went with Turner to a Mississippi lake to dump the gun used in the killing.

A Memphis native, Lorenzen Wright played college basketball at the University of Memphis and spent time with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. At the end of the trial, Coffee called Wright “a sacred son” of Memphis.

During Friday’s hearing, the judge cited Turner’s past convictions for kidnapping, gun and drug charges as he added years to the life sentence.

“He is a dangerous offender,” Coffee said. “He had no hesitation committing this crime.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

3 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

4 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

9 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

10 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

12 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Man sentenced on lesser charges in NBA player’s slaying