NBA player Lorenzen Wright was shot and killed in July 2010. Tonight, ABC News and ESPN correspondent Ryan Smith investigates the case on ABC’s 20/20. Billy Ray Turner is currently awaiting trial for charges connected to the case.
The episode of 20/20 includes interviews with Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion and Kelvin Cowans, a journalist who wrote a tell-all book about the case after being in a relationship with Wright’s ex-wife, who has since been convicted of facilitation to commit first-degree murder as well as facilitation to commit attempted first-degree murder, according to CNN.
Investigators believe Wright was killed shortly after a 911 call was placed on July 19, 2010. His body was located on July 28, 2010 in a wooded area in southeast Memphis, CNN reported. Turner and Wright’s ex-wife Sherra Wright-Robinson were both arrested in 2017 after investigators discovered a gun they believe was a murder weapon, according to Bleacher Report.
Turner has not yet been convicted of anything involved with the case. Read on to learn more about his upcoming trial and where he is today.
Turner’s Trial Was Scheduled to Begin in October 2020
Sex. Greed. Family Secrets. Lorenzen Wright. Now, stunning new details & exclusive audio recordings. ‘Mystery in Memphis’ – the new #ABC2020 event airs tonight at 9|8c on ABC. pic.twitter.com/t5OL1x49T5
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) September 18, 2020
Billy Ray Turner had an original trial date set for September 2019, according to FOX 13, but that trial was postponed in order to give his lawyers more time to look over new evidence. The trial was rescheduled to begin on October 26, 2020. Reports by CNN say that Sherra Wright-Robinson will not testify against him. Fox 13 has since reported that the trial has been delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
According to Bleacher Report, prosecutors allege Turner and Wright-Robinson conspired to kill her ex-husband in order to collect a $1 million insurance payout.
Turner faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy, meaning he could face life in prison if found guilty of those charges.
According to Commercial Appeal, another conspirator, Jimmie Martin, has also been named as an accomplice in the murder. District Attorney Paul Hagerman said Martin led the authorities to the murder weapon and that he was present at the time of the meeting between Wright-Robinson and Turner when they planned Wright’s murder.
WSB-TV 2 Atlanta reports that Martin was awaiting sentencing for an unrelated case of second-degree murder when he opened up to investigators about what happened to Wright. He told investigators that Billy Ray Turner and Sherra Wright-Robinson, his cousin, had told him what happened and then he helped them clean the murder scene.
Turner Maintains His Innocence
Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was murdered more than a decade ago in a plan involving his ex-wife, but Wright’s family and friends are still dealing with many unanswered questions, including "why?" | @ryansmithtv reports for our new #ABC2020 Friday. https://t.co/xc1ZvM1KbO
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) September 17, 2020
Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, is awaiting Turner’s trial in order to learn more about what happened to her son, according to FOX 13. She said the trial being put on hold was “a hindrance” for her because she wants to move on.
“I want to see Billy Ray,” she told the news outlet. “I really want to talk to him. I want him to tell me what Sherra did. That’s what I want to know.”
“It was a standard arrest,” John Keith Perry told the outlet. “There was no incidence to it. This person who, for the past 25 years, had not had any sort of troubles. I absolutely think that he did not do it.”