Death penalty will not be sought for Lorenzen Wright murder

Billy Turner (center) speaks to his attorney John Perry. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Billy Turner (center) speaks to his attorney John Perry. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the murder of Lorenzen Wright.

Sherra Wright and Billy Turner were in court in court Monday morning to face charges in the 2010 killing of the NBA and University of Memphis basketball star.

Prosecutors said they are not seeking the death penalty in the case at the request of Lorenzen's family.

"I don't want her to get the death penalty; let her live," Lorenzen's grandmother, Louise Vassar, said.

Criminal defense attorney William Massey said it's not uncommon for district attorneys to take the victim's family's wishes into consideration when it comes to the death penalty--especially when there are children involved.

"I certainly believe that it plays a strong role, and maybe it should. If [the victim's family] doesn't want to go through with [a capital punishment case], that is a factor that the district attorney will certainly consider," Massey said.

With the death penalty off the table, defense attorneys are now looking to get Sherra and Turner released on bond.

Sherra's attorney, Blake Ballin, said she is not a flight risk. He said Sherra was known in the community and was not a flight risk, but he still expected the judge to make it so she could not leave the country.

Meanwhile, Turner's attorney said his client has been cooperating with the investigation for seven years. He hopes that history of cooperation is enough to get the judge to grant Turner a bond.

"Every time they asked him a question he appeared. Every time he was supposed to be in court, he appeared. I don't think he's any kind of flight risk at all," John Keith Perry Jr. said.

Turner and Sherra will have a bond review hearing on April 12.

Massey said he believes the trial will take place in Shelby County. Until then, defense attorneys for Turner and Sherra are tasked with going through the 20,000 pages of notes from the investigation, including audio recordings from wiretaps.

Lorenzen's family was in the courtroom during Monday's appearance, but they did not wish to comment further at this time.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.