MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The man accused of killing former NBA player Lorenzen Wright pleaded not guilty.
Billy Turner, 46, was charged with first-degree murder last week after Wright's 2010 death.
Judge Lee Coffee told both families in court they will need to be patient with each other, noting the case will likely take a very long time to make its way through the legal system.
Turner's attorney, John Keith Perry, Jr., entered a plea of not guilty on Turner's behalf. Perry told the judge he'd just been retained and will need time to pore over and investigate the murder case against his client.
"I literally just got hired by the family over the weekend," Perry said after the hearing. "At this time, it's the very beginning of a very long road."
Lorenzen Wright's mother Deborah Marion said she knows the case will move slowly but at least the wheels of justice are turning.
"I wonder how long can they do this on and on and on," she said. "It's not over until it's over, the fat lady sings, and I haven't sung yet."
Last week, Marion became emotional in court. Tuesday, she said she was told to stay calm and not wear a memorial shirt to keep the peace.
"Because his face is on it," Marion said. "It would give different people different thoughts."
Investigators haven't commented on what motive Turner had to kill Wright or what led them to him as a suspect. Neighbors said the basketball star was a customer of Turner's lawn mowing business.
The judge set the next court date for January 29.
"It's a 7-year-old case at this point," Perry said. "We have to get a chance to do our due diligence."