MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The September trial for Billy Ray Turner for the murder of former Memphis basketball player Lorenzen Wright is delayed for now. It was postponed so the defense can review new evidence it just received from prosecutors.
The trial was supposed to start September 16, now it will likely happen next year.
Defense attorneys say the delay is the result of a mistake by the prosecutor’s office when it comes to turning over evidence to the defense.
“I can’t comment on what it is or anything like that. When we get stuff or new stuff, we turn it over to defense counsel,” said prosecutor Paul Hagerman.
The defense said the new evidence is a banker box and several folders full of materials. It never got turned over during what’s called the discovery process.
“The materials are different records from other people that were named in the case that we had asked for. Things along those lines so there’s not a lot as it relates to something he might have said or have done,” said Turner’s lawyer John Keith Perry.
Turner’s lawyer doesn’t know if any of the material will change how he will defend the case.
Turner is a co-defendant for the 2010 murder of NBA player Lorenzen Wright. Wright’s ex-wife Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to her role in the crime last month.
As for the missing evidence, Turner’s lawyer says better that it was discovered before the trial than after.
“At this point, I take Paul at his word it was an oversight that it wasn’t turned over,” said Perry.
Wright’s mother was in the courtroom Thursday for Turners appearance.
“I don’t care if he walk in the courtroom and sneeze, I want to be there to watch him sneeze,” said Deborah Marion.
Marion said she isn’t bothered by the delay, saying it’s only a matter of time before Turner goes on trial.
“I am excited. My face may not say it, but my heart is jumping. I’m glad,” she said.
The prosecution didn’t explain why this evidence wasn’t turned over initially. But Hagerman said, “This is the system working. I know it’s frustrating for everybody to come to court time after time and have it reset, but everybody’s just trying to get it right and that’s what’s happening.”
Turner will be back in court September 16th. His lawyer expects that’s when the new trial date will be sent.