How Lorenzen Wright's Ex-Wife Lured Him To His Death

For basketball fans, Lorenzen Wright was a notable power forward who played for five teams across his 13 seasons with the NBA (per ESPN). For those who knew him in his private life in Memphis, Tennessee, he was often a local hero who gave generously of his time and money according to People. His 2010 murder from 11 gunshot wounds left the city in shock and grief. For seven years, friends and family were left to wonder who could have killed Wright, and to what end.

Unknown to the public or the authorities at the time, Wright was the victim of an ambush. Per Sports Illustrated, he had recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia, but was back in Memphis to visit, and he was feeling adrift a year after his retirement from the NBA. On July 19, he met up with his ex-wife Sherra Wright; they had divorced just months before. Recreating the crime for A&E, inspector Darren Goods said that Sherra lured Wright into a wooded spot in Memphis where they used to have sex together.

It was part of a conspiracy formed by Sherra, her cousin Jimmie Martin, and her landscaper and sometime-lover Billy Ray Turner. When Wright arrived in the woods, he was shot and killed, even as he called 911 for help. By 2019, Martin was prepared to testify that Sherra and Turner were the killers.

Sherra Wright avoided arrest for years until her co-conspirator flipped

Immediately after Lorenzen Wright's death, his ex-wife Sherra maintained he had left her home with a box of drugs and an aim to make $110,000 from "flip[ing] something" according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via the New York Daily News). She was interviewed by police as a person of interest but faced no charges. Soon after, Sherra claimed to have suffered domestic abuse at Wright's hands and accused him of infidelity. She wrote a salacious account of their marriage under a thin veneer of fiction, "Mr. Tell Me Anything."

Friends and family conceded that Wright struggled financially after leaving the NBA, and that his marriage had been a volatile one. But they strongly objected to the way Sherra characterized him, and more than one person close to Wright — including his mother, Deborah Marion — told the authorities to look at her as a suspect. Sherra, who had financial difficulties of her own according to Sports Illustrated, received $1 million from Wright's life insurance and she spent nearly all of it within months, much of it on luxury items. She and Wright's father entered a bitter legal dispute over the management of the money, which was meant to benefit Wright's six children.

That court battle was settled, and Sherra was still not officially implicated in her ex-husband's death. But in 2017 (per the Commercial Appeal), Jimmie Martin, serving time for the 2007 murder of his girlfriend, told authorities about the plan to kill Wright. He also provided the location of the gun used to do the deed; it had been disposed of in a Mississippi lake.

Sherra Brown entered a plea bargain

By Jaimie Martin's account (per the Memphis Commercial Appeal), Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner hoped to kill Lorenzen Wright for his life insurance policy and had initially tried to kill him in his Atlanta home before attacking him in Memphis. Sherra and Turner were both arrested late in 2017. Defense attorneys argued that Martin was a known murderer and liar already under a 20-year sentence, but prosecutor Paul Hagerman insisted that Martin — who provided testimony in exchange for immunity in the Wright case — had been consistent with his story (per The Guardian).

For his testimony, Martin remained an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Turner was sentenced in 2022 to life in prison. But three years earlier (per the Commercial Appeal), Sherra surprised observers by taking a plea deal wherein she admitted to facilitating first-degree murder. Per AP, she was sentenced to 30 years, with the possibility of parole after nine. Sherra claimed that she took the deal to avoid a trial that would be difficult for her children and tarnish Wright's image; her attorney claimed that any trial would have dug up her allegations of domestic violence.

Two years later, AP reported (via ESPN) that Sherra wanted her plea deal thrown out, claiming it had been coerced out of her in violation of her constitutional rights. At a 2022 hearing considering early parole, she expressed remorse, insisting that "I didn't want to ever, ever in my life be without him ... I just made bad decisions because I was scared." Wright's family and case investigators opposed parole, which was ultimately denied. Sherra will next be eligible in 2027.