MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - High profile attorney Leslie Ballin said a planned defense for Sherra Wright would have been fraught with problems.
“It’s a tough defense and the reason is that defense encompasses, ‘yeah I did it, but this is why I took a life,’” Ballin said.
Wright’s attorney, Juni Ganguli, planned to use a battered woman defense if her case had gone to trial. They said Wright endured years of physical abuse from Wright’s husband and then ex-husband Lorenzen Wright, and that he also abused their children.
“In the end the defense, we would have settled on is she did it but she had been getting beaten repeatedly consistently for years,” Ganguli said.
Ballin says battered woman syndrome is a difficult defense to sell.
“Self-defense is one thing. If the danger is imminent, it’s right there, it’s in your face...that’s an easier sell.”
Another problem Ballin says is that Sherra and Lorenzen did not live together. He lived in another state.
“The distance between the two, the lack of regular contact, it would have been a hard sell.”
Ganguli said Sherra did not report the abuse to police. He said not telling anyone is a characteristic of abused people. He said Lorenzen Wright actually wanted to remarry Sherra and that frightened her.
“Mr. Wright had beaten her for years and the beatings were consistent and it led to her face being disfigured," Ganguli said. "She feared that Mr. Wright would never leave her alone and she recruited Billy Turner to kill Mr. Wright.”
Ganguli, who said he would have called witnesses to the beatings, did not have to use the defense because Sherra Wright pleaded guilty in a plea deal for 30 years with the possibility of parole in about 9 years. Ballin says that will never happen.
“This is the exact kind of case that a parole board would not parole initially.”
Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, said she was never aware of any physical abuse from Lorenzen.
“It’s just another lie,” Marion said.