He was a talented athlete whose life met a tragic end at age 34. Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright had an impressive career. He was drafted in 1996 by the Los Angeles Clippers. Later, he played for the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers. After playing 13 seasons in the NBA, he retired in 2009.
Wright was born and raised in Tennessee, where he also lost his life. He went missing from his ex-wife’s Collierville, Tennessee home in July 2010. Ten days later, his body was discovered in a swampy field, ridden with bullet holes. He had been shot in his head, chest and forearm, according to The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. For a while, it seemed that his death might remain a mystery: No arrests were made for seven years.
This week, Wright’s ex-wife Sherra Wright and her acquaintance Billy Ray Turner made an appearance in court in Memphis. They are scheduled to return to court next month. Here is a breakdown of the essential details of the case:
A submerged gun allegedly linked them to the case
Last year, police retrieved a gun from a lake in Mississippi. Investigators believe it’s the murder weapon, according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Less than a month after the discovery of the gun, Turner, a landscaper and church deacon, was indicted on murder charges, according to The Commercial Appeal.
They allegedly tried to kill the basketball star before
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings claimed that Sherra and Turner tried to kill Lorenzen multiple times in the past, according to Fox13.
They claim innocence
Sherra is accused of conspiring with Turner to kill her ex-husband. The Wrights had filed for divorce in 2009. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
The death penalty is off the table
The state will not be seeking the death penalty for either Sherra or Turner, prosecutors announced on Monday during a pre-trial hearing, according to WREG in Memphis.
Sherra’s original story
In 2010, Sherra told police that Lorenzen left her home with drugs and money. She claimed she overheard him telling someone over the phone that he was going to flip something for $110,000, according to The Commercial Appeal.
The 911 call
Hours after Lorenzen left Sherra’s home, according to her account, a 911 call was made from his phone. The dispatcher picked up. Then, gunshots rang out, according to ABC News.
There were problems in the Wright’s marriage
Wendy Wilson, Lorenzen's former assistant, told WMC in Memphis that she suspected Sherra from the beginning. She revealed that even before the Wrights filed for divorce there were problems in their marriage. She said that Sherra left Lorenzen threatening voicemails.
"They would go from you know, 'Oh he didn't answer the phone again,' and then from that to the anger and eventually to 'If I ever caught him with anyone else I'm going to f--- him up,'” Wilson said. "And she said a couple of times, 'I'll kill him. I'll kill him.'”
Lorenzen leaves behind seven children, all of which were younger than 15 when he died, according to WREG.
[Photos: Getty Images, Riverside County Sheriff's Department]