Mother of slain NBA star Lorenzen Wright was left ‘blown away’ when his ex-wife avoided murder trial

The mother of slain NBA player Lorenzen Wright has spoken out about the shock she felt four years ago, upon learning that her son’s ex-wife managed to avoid a murder trial.

In July 2019, Sherra Wright entered a guilty plea for the 2010 killing of her ex, for facilitation of first-degree murder as well as attempted murder at an earlier date – but only after skirting charges for years. 

Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, was aghast with that outcome. 

‘I got here thinking it was to have a trial, but then they called us in a room back there and said, wait a minute, we made a deal. It just blew me away,’ she recalled in NBC Dateline’s ‘The Murder of Lorenzen Wright’, which is set to air Friday night at 9pm ET.

‘How is this possible!’ Marion continued. ‘I’m thinking, I’m going to come and hear everything that happened step by step. But no.’

Deborah Marion was expecting her son's ex-wife, Sherra Wright, to stand trial for murder

Deborah Marion was expecting her son’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, to stand trial for murder

Sherra Wright (left) and Lorenzen Wright read holiday books to kids during a Grizzlies Read to Achieve event at Borders Bookstore in Memphis

Lorenzen Wright's slaying is one of the most highly publicized murder cases in Memphis history.

Sherra Wright (left) and Lorenzen Wright read holiday books to kids during 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

Sherra Wright listens during a hearing in Judge Lee Coffee’s court on July 25, 2019

Lorenzen Wright played for 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 bullet 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 indicted on first-degree murder charges in December 2017, more than seven years after the killing. 

While Wright pled guilty to lesser charges than murder, Turner claimed he was innocent and went to trial. He was convicted in March 2022 of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Turner is a landscaper who knew Sherra Wright from church and, according to prosecutors, had a secret romantic relationship with her. He had already pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon after he was found with two guns when he was arrested in Wright’s killing in 2017.

A motive for the slaying was not made clear during the trial, though prosecutors said the killers were driven by jealousy and greed. Sherra Wright received $1 million from her ex-husband’s life insurance policy and settled a court dispute in 2014 over how she spent the insurance money meant to benefit their six children.

Prosecutors allege Sherra Wright masterminded a plan to kill her ex-husband and recruited Turner and her cousin, Jimmie Martin, to help 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. He has received immunity from prosecution in the Wright case.

Billy Ray Turner (right in 2018), an incarcerated Tennessee man, was convicted in the 2010 slaying of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright and subsequently sentenced to life in prison

Billy Ray Turner (right in 2018), an incarcerated Tennessee man, was convicted in the 2010 slaying of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright and subsequently sentenced to life in prison

Sherra Wright, ex-wife of Lorenzen Wright, cries during a memorial service honoring the life of Lorenzen Wright on August 4, 2010 at FedExForum in Memphis

Sherra Wright, ex-wife of Lorenzen Wright, cries 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 killing and went to Lorenzen Wright’s condominium in Atlanta to shoot him, with an understanding that he would get paid.

Armed with handguns, Turner and Martin went to Wright’s condo in Atlanta, entered through a window and found someone sleeping on the couch in the living room – but it was not 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,' (pictured) in which the wife of a basketball player murders her husband

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,’ (pictured) in which the wife of a basketball player murders her husband

Sherra Wright said she lured her ex-husband to the field by telling him that she was going to meet someone there to get some money, Martin testified. According to Martin, she said that she and Turner ambushed and chased Lorenzen Wright, who jumped a fence and tried to run away before they shot 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 murders her husband.

According to a summary on Amazon , the female main character 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 reached after three of seven board members agreed to deny her release based on the seriousness of her offense, board spokesman Dustin Krugel said in an email to The Associated Press.

‘It is a privilege, and it is not something I have to receive or something that I should receive,’ a tearful Sherra Wright said during her hearing, as seen in video obtained by Memphis’ Fox affiliate . ‘And I’m asking today for your mercy.’

Maron was among those speaking against her early release.

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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

PK0It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.
0-500/0.5Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.
0 loss0.5Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.
1+500.5/1When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.
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2 flat2Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.
2 losses2/2.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.
3+502.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.
3 losses2.5/3When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.
3 levels3Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.
3-503/3.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.
3 losses3.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.
Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

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