Shocking and repugnant is how Criminal Court Judge Lee V. Coffee described a report on Sherra Wright’s run-ins with jail staff just a day before her bond hearing on Wednesday morning.
Coffee cited the report before setting a $20 million bond for Wright, who is suspected of masterminding the plot to murder her ex-husband, former NBA basketball stalwart and University of Memphis star Lorenzen Wright.
Sherra Wright was “a danger even while in custody,” according to details shared from a report by jailers. She and an alleged accomplice, Billy Ray Turner, are accused in a murder conspiracy. Both have pled not guilty. Prosecutors say Lorenzen Wright was shot to death for a $1 million life insurance policy.
Sherra Wright has married twice since divorcing Lorenzen Wright and also is known as Sherra Wright-Robinson.
Turner’s bond was set at $15 million earlier this month. At the time, Sherra Wright’s bond hearing was postponed until Wednesday. Coffee said a report on her actions while in jail show a disturbing pattern that indicates “there is a disconnect.”
Before bond was set, prosecutor Paul Hagerman said he was prepared to ask for a $10 million bond prior to reading the report. “I’m not sure even a $10 million bond is adequate,” he said before Coffee announced his decision.
“Can you trust someone on bond who a day before was sanctioned three times,” Hagerman asked. “Can someone like that be trusted out in this community?”
Coffee said he was shocked by details in the report and would not allow the information released in its entirety.
“Ms. Wright does appear to be an ongoing danger to Shelby County, Tenn.,” Coffee said in addressing one of the considerations for bond. “I don’t know but something is not right (when someone causes that kind of trouble before their bond hearing.)
Prosecutors said that on Tuesday Wright stripped off all of her clothes, flooded her cell and told guards, “I’m going swimming, yall.”
The report detailed Wright cursing at guards and noted that a chemical spray had to be used to get her to comply with demands on at least one occasion. She also allegedly broke other infractions, including passing food to other inmates.
Wright remained stoic throughout the hearing, gesturing “no” with her head when she heard the high amount of her bond.
Defense attorney Blake Ballin said Wright has spent most of her life in Memphis and has had nothing more than traffic violations prior to being accused in the murder of Lorenzen Wright, whose badly decomposed body was found in a field in Southeast Memphis near the TPC Southwind Golf Course in July of 2010. Ballin said Wright also has extended family and deep roots in the community and that the prosecution’s case is “built on sand.”
The prosecution’s star witness “is a convicted murderer and he’s a liar,” said Ballin, referring to Wright’s cousin, Jimmie Martin, who is serving time for murdering his girlfriend. “You wouldn’t trust him to walk your dog around the corner.”
Martin, who is cooperating with prosecutors, directed investigators to a murder weapon found in a lake in Walls, Miss., in 2016. Turner was arrested at a convenience store in Collierville on Dec. 5, 2017. On Dec. 15, Wright was arrested in Riverside, Calif. and subsequently extradited to Memphis.
Turner served as a deacon at a church in Collierville. Wright once attended the church.
In announcing his bond decision, Coffee said, “It does appear to be a reasonable likelihood of conviction in this case.”
Wright and Turner are set to be back in court for a status hearing on July 11.