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Unsolved Mysteries: The Shocking Murder of NBA Star Lorenzen Wright

Updated: May 5

The shocking murder of NBA star Lorenzen Wright is a tale that intertwines the worlds of professional sports, personal tragedy, and criminal investigation, unfolding over several years and capturing the attention of both basketball fans and the general public alike. This story not only delves into the life and career of Lorenzen Wright but also explores the complex investigation that followed his untimely death, the eventual discovery of his killers, and the impact of his loss on his family, friends, and the community at large.

### Early Life and NBA Career

Lorenzen Vern-Gagne Wright was born on November 4, 1975, in Memphis, Tennessee. Growing up in Oxford, Mississippi, Wright showed early promise as a basketball player, eventually leading him to play college basketball at the University of Memphis. His outstanding performance in college earned him a spot in the NBA, being drafted 7th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1996 NBA draft.

Wright’s NBA career spanned 13 seasons, during which he played for the Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Known for his energy on the court, defensive skills, and rebounding prowess, Wright became a beloved figure in Memphis, both for his on-court achievements and his community involvement.

### The Disappearance

On July 19, 2010, Lorenzen Wright went missing in Memphis, Tennessee. His family filed a missing persons report a few days later, sparking widespread concern and initiating a search that would captivate the city. His last known whereabouts were particularly troubling, as it was reported that he had been seen leaving his ex-wife’s house.

The mystery deepened when a 911 call made from Wright’s phone was discovered, in which gunshots could be heard. However, due to various mishaps and delays in the investigation, this critical piece of evidence did not lead to immediate action.

### The Discovery

On July 28, 2010, Lorenzen Wright's body was found in a secluded field in Memphis, ten days after he had been reported missing. The autopsy revealed that he had been shot multiple times, leading authorities to rule his death a homicide. This discovery sent shockwaves through the community and the NBA, as fans and fellow players mourned the loss of Wright.

### The Investigation

The investigation into Wright's murder was complex and fraught with challenges. Initial leads and suspects were pursued, but the case quickly went cold, much to the frustration of Wright's family and the Memphis community. For years, the question of who killed Lorenzen Wright remained unanswered, with the case symbolizing the broader issues of unsolved homicides and the limitations of criminal investigations.

### Breakthrough and Conviction

A significant breakthrough in the case came in 2017, seven years after Wright's murder. New evidence led investigators to arrest Billy Turner, a church deacon, and Sherra Wright-Robinson, Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife, charging them with first-degree murder. The prosecution presented a case that included financial motives, a tumultuous relationship, and a plan that ultimately led to Wright’s death.

In 2019, Sherra Wright-Robinson entered a guilty plea to the facilitation of first-degree murder, receiving a 30-year prison sentence. Billy Turner’s trial faced delays, but the charges against him underscored the alleged conspiracy to murder Lorenzen Wright.

### Legacy and Impact

Lorenzen Wright's murder had a profound impact on his family, friends, and the communities he touched. His mother, Deborah Marion, became an outspoken advocate for victims’ families and worked tirelessly to keep her son’s case in the public eye. The NBA community also rallied to support Wright's family, with players and teams contributing to various memorials and funds established in his honor.

The case highlighted issues of domestic violence, the challenges faced by law enforcement in solving complex crimes, and the lasting scars left on communities by violent crime. Lorenzen Wright's legacy, both as a player and as a symbol of a broader societal struggle for justice, continues to be felt years after his tragic death.

### Conclusion

The murder of Lorenzen Wright is a story of tragedy, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of justice. It underscores the reality that behind the headlines and statistics of crime stories are real people and families enduring unimaginable loss. While the conviction of his killers has brought some closure to those who loved him, the memory of Lorenzen Wright serves as a reminder of the work still needed to combat violence and support victims and their families. His legacy, both on and off the basketball court, remains a source of inspiration and a call to action for communities everywhere.

The unsolved murder of NBA star Lorenzen Wright remains one of the most shocking and tragic events in the world of sports. Wright's sudden disappearance in 2010, followed by the discovery of his body, sparked a complex investigation that spanned years and was marked by unexpected twists and turns. Despite the eventual arrests and legal proceedings, the case continues to evoke strong emotions and raises important questions about justice and the legacy left behind by the beloved athlete.

Key Takeaways

  • Lorenzen Wright's disappearance and the subsequent discovery of his body led to a high-profile murder investigation with numerous challenges.

  • The investigation took a dramatic turn seven years later when key evidence surfaced, implicating Wright's wife, Sherra Wright, and landscaper Billy Turner.

  • The $1 million life insurance payout received by Sherra Wright after Lorenzen's death played a significant role in the investigation and raised suspicions.

  • Legal proceedings included court trials and plea deals, deeply affecting Lorenzen Wright's family and the Memphis community he was a part of.

  • Despite the tragedy, Lorenzen Wright's legacy endures through remembrance of his NBA career, his status as a hometown hero, and his charitable works.

The Disappearance and Discovery of Lorenzen Wright

Timeline of Lorenzen Wright's Final Days

The final days of Lorenzen Wright were shrouded in mystery, marked by his sudden disappearance and the subsequent discovery of his body. In July of 2010, the NBA star vanished, sparking a widespread search that ended in tragedy. His body was found nine days later in a secluded Tennessee woodland, a grim end to a life that had once shone brightly in the world of professional basketball.

  • July 18, 2010: Lorenzen Wright last seen alive.

  • July 19, 2010: Missed family events raise concerns.

  • July 22, 2010: Family files a missing person report.

  • July 27, 2010: His body is discovered, evidence of multiple gunshot wounds.

The investigation into his murder faced immediate challenges, including a delayed missing person report and the remote location of the crime scene. The case would eventually reveal a web of deceit and betrayal, leading to arrests years after the murder. The community and Lorenzen's family were left grappling with the loss and the haunting question of who could commit such an act against the beloved athlete.

The Initial Investigation and Challenges

The initial phase of the investigation into Lorenzen Wright's disappearance was fraught with difficulties. The autopsy revealed that he had been shot multiple times, leading authorities to rule his death a homicide. This discovery sent shockwaves through the community and added urgency to the case.

Investigators faced a complex web of suspects and motives, each interview adding unexpected turns to the case. The challenges were compounded by a lack of immediate leads and the intricate nature of the crime scene.

The case took on a sense of urgency as detectives worked to piece together the events leading up to Wright's tragic death.

Despite the high stakes, the investigation was hindered by issues within the criminal justice system, which raised questions about the apprehension of the right suspect and the potential for justice to be served.

Discovery of the Body and the Crime Scene

The discovery of Lorenzen Wright's body was a pivotal moment in the investigation. After days of searching, the grim reality set in when his remains were found in a secluded area, far from the public eye. The condition of the body and the surrounding evidence suggested a violent end, sparking a myriad of questions about the perpetrator and motive behind the murder.

Investigators faced a daunting task: piecing together the events that led to Wright's demise. The crime scene offered limited clues, but each was meticulously documented:

  • The location and positioning of the body

  • The trajectory and number of bullet casings

  • The absence or presence of personal belongings

  • Signs of a struggle or forced movement

The state of the
crime scene painted a bleak picture, indicating that Wright had likely encountered his assailant or assailants with little chance to defend himself.

As the investigation progressed, the challenge of connecting the dots intensified. The lack of witnesses and the delayed discovery of the body meant that crucial evidence could have been compromised or lost entirely.

The Twists and Turns of the Investigation

Key Evidence and Breakthroughs

The investigation into the murder of Lorenzen Wright took a significant turn with the discovery of new evidence. This evidence, pivotal to reigniting the cold case, included DNA analysis and critical interviews with key figures. The relentless pursuit of truth by investigators and journalists alike led to the unearthing of facts that had long eluded the authorities.

The unmatched reporting and fresh evidence have been instrumental in challenging previous assumptions and opening new avenues for solving the case.

While the specifics of the evidence remain under wraps, its impact is undeniable. It has prompted a reevaluation of the case, shedding light on previously overlooked details and bringing hope for justice to Lorenzen's family and the community at large.

Suspects and Arrests: Sherra Wright and Billy Turner

The investigation into Lorenzen Wright's murder took a dramatic turn when police discovered a key piece of evidence that connected his ex-wife, Sherra Wright, and a landscaper named Billy Ray Turner to the crime. The discovery came after years of the case remaining unsolved, with the former NBA star's family desperately seeking answers.

Following the evidence trail, authorities arrested Sherra Wright and Billy Turner in December 2017. The arrests were a significant breakthrough in a case that had gone cold, bringing renewed hope for justice. The motive appeared to be financially driven, as Sherra Wright had received a substantial life insurance payout after Lorenzen's death.

The intertwining of money, betrayal, and murder painted a grim picture of what led to the tragic end of Lorenzen Wright's life.

The Role of the $1 Million Life Insurance Payout

The investigation into Lorenzen Wright's murder took a significant turn when a $1 million life insurance policy surfaced as a potential motive. The policy, which named Wright's ex-wife as the beneficiary, raised suspicions about her involvement in the crime.

Financial incentives can often play a role in criminal cases, and the life insurance payout was no exception. Here's a brief overview of the policy details:

  • Beneficiary: Sherra Wright

  • Policy Value: $1 Million

  • Date Issued: [Date]

  • Payout Trigger: Lorenzen Wright's death

The discovery of the life insurance policy added a complex layer to the investigation, suggesting a financial motive that could not be ignored.

As the case unfolded, the life insurance payout became a focal point, with prosecutors alleging that it was the catalyst for a murder plot. The defense, however, argued that the policy was not a sufficient reason for Sherra Wright to commit such a heinous act.

Legal Proceedings and Quest for Justice

Court Trials and Plea Deals

The legal proceedings in the Lorenzen Wright case have been marked by a series of court trials and plea deals that have shaped the course of justice. The intricacies of the legal process have been scrutinized, with each development bringing its own set of revelations and consequences.

  • The prosecution presented a compelling case, backed by forensic evidence and witness testimonies.

  • Defense strategies have included questioning the credibility of key witnesses and challenging the prosecution's narrative.

  • Plea deals have played a critical role, with some defendants opting to negotiate in exchange for reduced charges or sentences.

The outcome of these legal maneuvers has had a profound impact on all parties involved, setting precedents and raising questions about the legal system's efficacy in handling high-profile cases.

Impact on Lorenzen Wright's Family and Community

The murder of Lorenzen Wright sent shockwaves through his family and the Memphis community, where he was not only a basketball star but also a beloved figure. The tragedy left his family grappling with an immeasurable loss, while the community mourned the untimely death of a local hero.

The investigation and subsequent legal battles added to the family's anguish, as they endured years of uncertainty and public scrutiny. The emotional toll was compounded by the financial strain, particularly after the revelation of the $1 million life insurance payout, which became a focal point in the case.

The community's sense of safety and trust was deeply shaken, as the crime highlighted the vulnerability of even its most prominent members.

The following points outline the multifaceted impact on Lorenzen's family and the broader community:

  • The enduring pain of losing a loved one to a violent crime

  • The struggle for justice amidst a protracted and high-profile investigation

  • The financial and emotional burden on the family

  • The ripple effect on the Memphis community, which lost a figure of hope and inspiration

The Legal System's Handling of the Case

The legal proceedings in the Lorenzen Wright case were marked by significant public interest and media scrutiny. The verdicts delivered justice, albeit after a prolonged period of investigation and trial. Sherra Wright, Lorenzen's ex-wife, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, reflecting the gravity of her involvement in the crime. Billy Turner Ray's conviction for first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy underscored the severity of the offenses committed.

The case highlighted the complexities of the legal system, from gathering evidence to the intricacies of the trial process. The following table summarizes the key outcomes of the legal proceedings:





Sherra Wright

First-degree murder, conspiracy

Guilty plea

30 years

Billy Turner Ray

First-degree murder, attempted murder, conspiracy

Found guilty


The outcomes of the case serve as a testament to the relentless pursuit of justice by law enforcement and the legal community. Despite the challenges, the system worked to ensure that those responsible for Lorenzen Wright's murder were held accountable.

Lorenzen Wright's Legacy and Impact

Remembering the NBA Star's Career

Lorenzen Wright's career in the NBA was marked by his remarkable athleticism and dedication to the sport. His journey from a promising young talent to a professional player left an indelible mark on the basketball community. His legacy extends beyond the court, reflecting his passion for the game and the impact he had on fans and fellow athletes alike.



Points Per Game

Rebounds Per Game

Assists Per Game


LA Clippers





LA Clippers










Cleveland Cavaliers




Wright's tenacity on the court was matched by his commitment to improving every season, a testament to his work ethic and love for basketball.

Throughout his career, Lorenzen Wright was known for his versatility and ability to contribute in multiple facets of the game. His statistics reflect a player who was not only a scorer but also a valuable team player, evident in his rebound and assist numbers.

Lorenzen's Role as a Hometown Hero in Memphis

Lorenzen Wright's impact on Memphis went far beyond the basketball court. As a native son, his presence was a beacon of hope and inspiration for many in the city. His tragic death sent ripples of sorrow through the community that had embraced him as a hero.

  • Wright played for the University of Memphis, where he became a standout player.

  • He was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers, but his heart remained with Memphis.

  • Returning to play for the Memphis Grizzlies, he solidified his status as a hometown hero.

His legacy in Memphis is marked by his generosity and the deep connections he fostered within the community.

The loss of Lorenzen Wright was felt not just in the sports world but throughout Memphis, where he had contributed significantly to the local culture and spirit. His memory continues to inspire young athletes and the citizens of Memphis to strive for greatness and give back to their community.

Charitable Works and Posthumous Influence

Lorenzen Wright's commitment to giving back did not end with his tragic death. His legacy continues through the charitable endeavors he supported and the initiatives inspired by his life. His philanthropic spirit lives on, influencing others to contribute to the community in meaningful ways.

  • The Lorenzen Wright Foundation

  • Scholarships for young athletes

  • Community basketball courts renovation

  • Youth mentorship programs

The impact of Lorenzen's charitable efforts is felt deeply within the community, creating opportunities and fostering hope for future generations.

While Lorenzen's life was cut short, the values he embodied are carried forward by those he inspired. His dedication to service and generosity set a standard for athletes and public figures alike, encouraging them to use their platforms for the greater good.


The tragic murder of Lorenzen Wright remains a haunting chapter in the annals of sports and criminal history. Despite the passage of years and the eventual arrest of suspects, including his ex-wife Sherra Wright, the full truth behind Lorenzen's untimely death is still shrouded in mystery. The case, which once went cold, has seen renewed interest and developments, but questions linger. As the legal proceedings continue to unfold, the hope for complete closure and justice for Lorenzen and his loved ones persists. His story is a sobering reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring quest for truth in the face of adversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Lorenzen Wright?

Lorenzen Wright was a professional NBA player, known for his time with teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies. He was also a beloved figure in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

What happened to Lorenzen Wright?

Lorenzen Wright disappeared in July 2010, and his body was found nine days later. His death was ruled a homicide, sparking a complex investigation into his murder.

Who were the main suspects in Lorenzen Wright's murder?

The main suspects in Lorenzen Wright's murder were his ex-wife, Sherra Wright, and a landscaper named Billy Turner. Both were eventually arrested in connection with the crime.

What was the key piece of evidence in the case?

A key piece of evidence that emerged seven years after Lorenzen's death was a gun believed to be the murder weapon, which led to the arrests of Sherra Wright and Billy Turner.

How did the $1 million life insurance payout factor into the investigation?

After Lorenzen's death, his ex-wife Sherra Wright received a $1 million life insurance payout. This payout became a significant focus of the investigation, as it was suspected to be a possible motive for the murder.

What is Lorenzen Wright's legacy?

Lorenzen Wright's legacy extends beyond his NBA career. He is remembered as a hometown hero in Memphis for his community involvement and charitable works, and his murder has had a lasting impact on the city.

"In a case that shocked the community, Turner and Sherra were involved in a drug deal that escalated to facilitation of first-degree murder, leading to Turner being sentenced to life in prison, while Sherra claimed her involvement was lesser, resulting in her being sentenced to 30 years. The body was discovered in an area near a golf course, as detailed in the autopsy report."1. Jimmie Martin, arrested by Memphis police, pleaded guilty after 57 pounds of drugs were found in his possession.

2. The suspect was caught with a cell phone that contained evidence linking him to the crime.

3. During interrogation, Martin admitted to transporting the 57 pounds of drugs, leading to his guilty plea.

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