The Lorenzen Wright Cold Case is Suddenly Very Hot: More Arrests?

“If you’re involved in this case, I encourage you to come forward now before we come get you.” MPD Director Michael Rallings

After seven years of catastrophic silence, the arc of justice is edging closer and closer towards mercy in the Lorenzen Wright murder case. The California arrest of Lorenzen’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright-Robinson, on murder and conspiracy charges, less than two weeks after Billy R. Turner was arrested in Memphis for the murder of Wright, has created confidence within the Memphis Police Department and Wright’s family that finally there is an end to the seven year tragedy. One perplexing murder in 2010. No one held responsible. Until now. 2,705 days later.

Sherra Wright-Robinson has always been a person of interest in the murder of her ex-husband but details to link her to the crime were heresay, nothing concrete nor credible. A couple of years ago, she gave a chilling response when asked by Sports Illustrated if she killed her husband. Instead of a normal “No!” or a “Hell No!” or even an expression of outrage, she said “I am a wife first, a mother second, and then an author.”

The wife, mother and author is in a Riverside, California jail waiting to be extradited.

“We followed the evidence and evidence led us to Billy Ray Turner and Sherra Wright.” MPD Multi-Agency Gang Unit Commander, Major Darren Goods.

Both Turner and Wright were members of Mt. Olive Number One Missionary Baptist Church. Turner was a deacon. When Turner appeared in court last week, Lorenzen Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion yelled at him, “how could you have murdered my son?”

Lorenzen Wright went missing on July 18th 2010 and his body was found decomposed near Hacks Cross Road in a hilly, remote ravine ten days later. His once upon a time athletic frame had decomposed in the sweltering field. The autopsy report confirmed he had been shot five times, at the very least. The state of the body in the oppressive humidity was reductive. What could be determined was grim. It was not accidental. He was shot twice in the head, twice in the chest and once in the forearm. The operating theory was that he was shot somewhere else and dragged into the ravine to be forgotten, missing perhaps, forever. He was discovered by cadaver dogs.

After he went missing, suspicions turned to Sherra Wright.

Lorenzen’s mother, Deborah Marion said, “he’s worth more to her dead than alive.” Marion also asked the question police wanted to know too. Who would kill a father of six children?

Who?

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I will never lose hope until I am dead and buried (Deborah Marion, mother of Lorenzen Wright)

A surefire way to become a person of interest in a murder investigation is to change your story a couple of days after the murder. Sherra Wright-Robinson, who met Lorenzen in AAU basketball- her father was a coach- at first told the police Lorenzen had no enemies. Everyone who knew and loved him agreed. He was the sort of person you wanted to be like, kind, generous, a friend to all.

But then a few days later, Sherra Wright changed her story. She said her former husband was involved in criminal activity. She said he left the house with money in a box that he was going to “flip for $110,000.” She also said he was in the company of a person she did not know.

Six weeks earler, according to Sherra Wright, men came to the house looking for Lorenzen (he was not there) and they threatened to harm her if she mentioned the encounter to police.

Her ex mother-in-law was skeptical.

Where is the picture composite of these guys? It’s just questionable. Where are these guys from? What they look like? What’s their height? What’s their complexion? Who are they?

I wouldn’t have held anything back. I would have taken a polygraph and everything because I would want my kids to know their mother is telling the truth. I would have told them everything they needed to know. Whether I was divorced from him or not, because he’s still the father of my six kids. (Deborah Marion, Collierville News)

Sherra also told the police that Wright owned two guns, a shotgun he kept in the house and a handgun pistol he kept in the car. Neither were found when they searched her house. Neighbors told a different story. They said that shortly after Lorenzen went missing Sherra had a bonfire in her backyard but it was the hottest day of the year, which raised suspicions. The police searched her fire pit and didn’t disclose if there was any credible discovery.

Sherra Wright was the benficiary of an insurance policy and in ten months she spent lavishly on cars and items for the house. $32,000 for a Cadillac. $26,000 for a Lexus. $69,000 for furniture. $11,750 a for trip to New York. $339,000 to improve the house. $7,100 to begin construction on a swimming pool. 5,000 for lawn equipment, according to the Memphis Commerial Appeal. But voracious spending, in and of itself, doesn’t link her to a murder. It just makes her greedy.

Evidence notwithstanding, the public had a different conclusion about the complicity of  Sherra Wright. She was directly responsible for the death of Lorenzen Wright. Worse, she was the one getting away with murder.

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Please open your mouth. Put yourself in his six kids shoes. They are without a daddy. Think of a 4 year old child without a father who doesn’t understand why she’ll never see her father again. Her father will never walk her down the aisle. He will never be at her graduation. He’s got two daughters who won’t have a father to walk them down the ailse. Think of that. (Deborah Marion begging for witnesses to come forward)

Murder has consequences. Like a genetic disease, the consequences are passed down from one generation to the next. A murdered father misses out on his children’s small miracles of childhood life. There are birthday parties he cannot attend and graduations he will never see and prom dates and Christmas mornings noted for his absence; murder orphans  the innocent. Children grow up with an empty space and when they have their own children something is still missing, someone is always missing.

Lorenzen Wright’s  mother was correct. Who would kill a father of six?

According to the Memphis Police, Sherra Wright-Robinson. And she did it more than once.

She was involved in a prior attempt on the life of Lorenzen Wright at his Atlanta home. The police say that Billy R. Turner and Sherra Wright convinced a third person to travel to Atlanta to kill the former basketball player.  It fell through and all the police will acknowledge is that they are getting to the end point in the Lorenzen Wright murder case, aggresively searching and arresting all those involved.

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As sordid as this murder case is, there are questions about the two suspects. Were they involved with each other at the time of the murder? Was this a murder for hire and a murder for greed? Did Billy R. Turner flip on Sherra Wright-Robinson, pointing the finger at her as the brains of what the police are calling Operation Rebound? Murders usually are about money or revenge. The money angle seems to be established but did any of the arrested have revenge too. They wanted Lorenzen Wright dead because they wanted him dead, meaning they had no soul, they were evil?

It’s difficult to look at the rapidity of events in this case and not think of luck or grace. A gun was found in Walnut, Mississippi. It was identiifed through ballistic testing as the murder weapon. It was traced to Billy R. Turner and that led to Sherra Wright-Robinson and a previous (failed) hit on Lorenzen Wright, information that probably came from Turner himself, indicating he has some level of cooperation with police, which also means Sherra Wright-Robinson is probably in jail for a long, long time.

There is a song Michael Jackson made famous. Gone Too Soon. Here one day, gone one night. Like a sunset dying with the rising of the moon. Gone too soon. At the candlelight vigil last night in the name of Lorenzen Wright, his family was prayerful and hopeful that the arc of justice was finally bending towards them.

“This is the day I have been waiting for the last seven years.” (Deborah Marion)