Judge supports denying bond, ultimately sets bond in Lorenzen Wright murder case

Sherra Wright appears before a Memphis judge (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Sherra Wright appears before a Memphis judge (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The two people accused of killing NBA star Lorenzen Wright were in court for bond hearings May 4.

Since Wright's family asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty in the case, defense attorneys are trying to get bonds for Sherra Wright and Billy Turner. The bond hearings for both Wright and Turner was originally scheduled for April 12, but was delayed.

Friday, Wright's was once again rescheduled. She'll be back in court May 30.

The bond hearing for Billy Turner happened Friday and took 2.5 hours.

Turner has multiple felony convictions dating back to 1992 and 1993. The defense argued that those convictions were over 25 years old and should not prevent Turner from getting bond.

The defense called three witnesses who all knew Turner. They testified that he was a changed man who went to church and ran a landscaping business.

"He's as good as gold. He's one of the best in our family. We miss him so much. He's dependable, trustworthy. He's a church going person," Ruby Jean Jackson, Turner's cousin, said.

The prosecution pointed out that many of Turner's prior felonies were violent crimes, including kidnapping and aggravated assault. The prosecution also noted that Turner had guns in his home when he was arrested, which is against the law for a convicted felon.

Prosecutor Paul Hagerman read the affidavit of the Lorenzen Wright murder plot for the record. In that reading, he named a third co-conspirator in the murder plot.

Turner, Sherra Wright, and Wright's cousin, Jimmie Martin--the key witness for the prosecution--all conspired to kill Lorenzen Wright.

"Jimmie Martin stated he participated in the planning of the murder with Sherra Wright and Billy Turner, and he received payment by Sherra Wright," Martin said.

Martin, a Memphis rapper and producer who goes by the stage name Triksta, told prosecutors what he knew about the murder.

He said he and Turner went to Atlanta to kill Lorenzen at his home.

The two entered the Atlanta residence through a window Sherra left unlocked days earlier, but a different person other than Lorenzen was on the couch so the plan didn't work.

Turner and Martin, according to the affidavit, killed Lorenzen in Memphis, and his body was discovered days later.

They, along with Sherra, went back to the scene of the murder to collect shell casings and the murder weapon that was left behind.

Martin led investigators to the murder weapon that was found in a lake in Walnut, Mississippi, according to the affidavit.

Turner and Sherra Wright had sexual relations during the time of the murder, according to Martin's statements in the affidavit.

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.

The defense said that a reasonable bond for Turner would be $150,000. The prosecution argued a reasonable bond for him was $10 million.

Judge Lee Coffee made the determination that Turner was still a danger to the community, mainly because he is a multiple-time convicted felon who, as of 2017, was still in possession of firearms--which is against the law and carries a felony charge.

Character witnesses for Turner said he needed the guns as protection because of the business he was in. Turner spent time in bad neighborhoods landscaping and cutting grass and often conducted business transactions in cash.

Judge Coffee said if it was up to him, he would not set a bond for Turner, but he legally had to. He also said he took what the character witnesses said "with a grain of salt" because none of them saw anything wrong with Turner owning weapons as a convicted felon.

Turner's bond was set at $15 million--$5 million above what the prosecution requested and 100 times what the defense said was reasonable.

Hagerman said the case is far from a slam dunk.

"It is now an 8-year-old murder case. I've had some other old cases. They always present challenges because of the time and witnesses," he said.

If convicted, Billy Turner could face life in prison plus 140 years. A trial date has not been set.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.