Sherra Wright Pleads Not Guilty, Decision On Whether To Try For Death Penalty Next Month

Local News

We’ll know soon whether the ex-wife of former Memphis basketball star Lorenzen will face the death penalty if convicted. Monday morning, Sherra Wright pleaded not guilty, and afterwards, a Shelby County prosecutor told Local 24 a death penalty case decision will be announced next month.

Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner are both accused of plotting and attempting to kill Lorenzen Wright in the spring of 2010 and then actually killing the 34-year-old in the summer of 2010.

The significant decision on whether the case will be tried as a death penalty case will be made March 19th, when both Wright and Turner are next scheduled to appear in court.

Louise Vassar woke up early Monday morning in Oxford, MS to get to downtown Memphis’ Shelby County Justice Center. There, she sat feet from the woman accused of murdering her oldest grandchild, former Memphis basketball star Lorenzen Wright.

“I want to see Sherra’s face, wish her all the luck, but I had to see her for justice for my grandson,” Vassar said.

Sherra Wright didn’t say much in her brief arraignment, in which she pleaded not guilty. She’s now officially represented by Memphis attorneys Blake Ballin and Steve Farese Jr., who cautioned against the court of public opinion.

“We’ve seen what’s been on TV,” Ballin said. “We are now excited to see what the real evidence is.”

Attorneys on all sides will spend the next several weeks going over the lengthy evidence in Lorenzen Wright’s 2010 murder in southeast Memphis. The case remained unsolved until late last year, when authorities arrested and charged Turner and Wright, who once attended the same Collierville church.

“Things take time,” Paul Hagerman with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said. “I know it’s taken too long to solve this case, too long get it here, but everybody is going to make sure to do their jobs.”

Whatever unfolds during the trial, Vassar made her intention known should Wright be convicted.

“I don’t want her to get the death penalty,” Vassar said. “Let her live.”

Last month, Billy Ray Turner’s attorney said some of the evidence included phone wiretaps, which Wright’s attorneys didn’t entirely dispute Monday morning.

Death penalty defendants are not eligible for bond.

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