Billy R. Turner!
That’s the name now associated with the killing of Lorenzen Wright, the Memphis-grown basketball star who was last seen alive on July 18, 2010, when he left the home of his ex-wife in Collierville.
Turner, 46, of Collierville, was indicted Tuesday. He is charged with the premeditated first-degree murder of Wright and is being held at the Shelby County Jail. His bond is $1 million.
Shelby County District Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich revealed Turner’s arrest during a media conference at 201 Poplar. She appeared along with Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings, Sheriff’s Department administrators and other local law enforcement members.
No specific date was given for Turner’s arraignment.
The case is being handled by Chief Prosecutor Paul Hagerman of the DA’s Multi-Agency Gang Prosecution Unit (MGU), and Asst. Dist. Atty. Colin Campbell also of the MGU that prosecutes homicide cases and other violent crimes associated with gang activity, specific targeted gang members or special cases assigned by the District Attorney General.
Word of Turner’s arrest followed a Nov. 9 break in the cold case. That’s the day authorities located what they said was the murder weapon. It was found in a lake near Walnut, Miss.
Early on the morning of July 19, 2010, Germantown Police received a 911 call from Wright’s cell phone, but the call was interrupted by gunfire.
Wright’s body was discovered July 28, 2010, in a field near Hacks Cross and Winchester. He had been shot multiple times. According to the indictment, Wright was killed sometime between July 17 and July 20 that year. He was 34.
Is Turner connected to anyone else linked to Wright’s death?
That question was one several that Weirich and Rallings said they could not answer because the investigation is ongoing.
The father of six was last seen on July 18, 2010, as he left the home of his ex-wife, Sherra Wright. According to an affidavit, Sherra Wright told police she saw him leave her home carrying money and a box of drugs.
Before he left, Sherra Wright said she overheard her ex-husband on the telephone telling someone that he was going to “flip something for $110,000,” the document said.
Sherra Wright said Lorenzen Wright left her home in a car with a person she could not identify. The affidavit said Sherra Wright gave the statements to police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, where she lives, on July 27 — nine days after he left her house for the last time.
In the early morning of July 19, a police dispatcher in the suburb of Germantown received a call from Wright’s cellphone. Dispatchers acknowledged they heard noises like gunshots before the call was dropped.
Dispatchers said they didn’t alert patrol officers or commanders because they couldn’t confirm it came from their jurisdiction. They didn’t send a patrol officer or relay the information to Memphis police until days later.
Wright’s mother filed a missing-person report with Collierville police on July 22, 2010. Authorities in Collierville were accused of dragging their feet in the days after the report was filed, and an apparent lack of communication kept authorities from linking the 911 call to the missing-person report.
Wright’s body was found in a field near some woods in the height of summer, complicating the investigation because evidence had likely deteriorated in the heat. An autopsy report showed bullet fragments were lodged in Wright’s skull, chest and right forearm.
The corpse was badly decomposed, weighing 57 pounds (25 kilograms).Wright’s playing weight was around 225 pounds (100 kilograms).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.