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Former NBA player’s ex-wife pleads not guilty in his death

February 26, 2018

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The ex-wife of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges in his death more than seven years ago.

Sherra Wright’s lawyers entered the plea in Shelby County criminal court in Tennessee. Wright wore an orange jail uniform and responded “no sir” when asked by Judge Lee Coffee if she had any questions about the case.

She was arrested in December in Riverside County, California, more than seven years after Lorenzen Wright’s decomposing body was found in a suburban Memphis field. He was missing for 10 days before his body was found on July 28, 2010. He was shot multiple times — an autopsy report showed bullet fragments were lodged in Wright’s skull, chest and right forearm.

Lorenzen Wright played for 13 seasons as a forward and center in the NBA, including several for the Grizzlies in Memphis, where he was born and raised.

Another person charged with first-degree murder in the case, Billy Turner, has pleaded not guilty. They are scheduled to appear in court on March 19. Turner, a landscaper, and Sherra Wright attended the same church.

Prosecutors could announce at the next hearing whether they plan to seek the death penalty.

Turner was indicted Dec. 5, and Wright was indicted less than two weeks later. The seven-year investigation into his death has been one of the Memphis Police Department’s most high-profile unsolved cases.

The first attempt at killing Wright occurred between April and July 2010 and involved Turner traveling to Wright’s home near Atlanta, the Shelby County district attorney’s office says. The indictment said Sherra Wright and Turner acquired guns and recruited a co-conspirator, who was not named.

Months later, Wright and Turner traveled to the swampy suburban field to kill Wright, the district attorney’s office said.

Sherra Wright received $1 million from her ex-husband’s life insurance policy. She agreed to a settlement in 2014 in a court dispute over how she spent the insurance money meant to benefit their six children, The Commercial Appeal has reported.

Police said they got a break in the case when a gun used in the killing was found in November in a lake near Walnut, Mississippi, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Memphis.

Blake Ballin, one of Wright’s attorneys, said he visited her this past weekend and she “was not in the best of moods, was a little depressed about things.” She was in higher spirits Monday, Ballin said.

“It’s going to be that kind of a roller coaster,” Ballin said.

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