When a victim can’t tell the police what happened to them and who was responsible for the crime, detectives rely on evidence and eye-witnesses to figure out the truth.
Yet when police started investigating the murder of a beloved basketball player, there were no witnesses to the crime and almost no evidence, which made the task of finding the murderer nearly impossible. 7 Years later, however, police finally found a vital clue at the bottom of a lake…
In late July 2010, Deborah Marion started to worry when she couldn’t get in touch with her son, Lorenzen Wright. Lorenzen was a professional basketball player with a busy schedule, but it was uncharacteristic for him to ignore his family no matter how busy he was.
Lorenzen was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and played basketball throughout high school and college at the University of Memphis. The 6-foot 11-inch player was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Lorenzen later went on to play for the Memphis Grizzlies…
But no matter how busy Lorenzen was with his career, he always stayed grounded. “He was a young man who never forgot who he was, where he came from, the values that shaped him and the people who encouraged him along the way,” said former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.
“Lorenzen’s story was one of those special Memphis stories where a man is able to transcend his roots even while he represents those roots proudly,” Wharton added. Lorenzen was especially loved by his hometown because of all the charity work he did…
On July 22, 2010, Deborah Marion went to the police to report that Lorenzen had gone missing and filled out a missing person report. At first, the police weren’t too worried and assumed Lorenzen was just busy with a work commitment.
However, when they looked into the matter a little more, they started taking Deborah’s missing person report more seriously. Officers discovered no one had seen Lorenzen since July 18. The last time Lorenzen had been seen, he was leaving the house of his ex-wife, Sherra Wright…
The 911 Call
Early on the morning of July 19, 2010, a police dispatcher from a suburb called Germantown received a call from a cell phone and heard what sounded like gunshots before the call dropped. The dispatcher didn’t realize it at the time, but the call had come from Lorenzen’s cell phone.
The dispatcher couldn’t be sure if the call came from their jurisdiction, so no officers on patrol in the area were notified to investigate the call. Days later, they sent information about the 911 call over to the Memphis Police Department…
Connecting The Dots
With the 911 call and the missing person report, the detectives were able to figure out Lorenzen’s last known location. When they went to the spot near the TCP Southwind golf course, they finally discovered what happened to the famous basketball player.
On July 28, the police discovered Lorenzen’s body in the wooded area. Lorenzen had been shot but because it was the middle of summer, his body had already started decomposing. Because of the state of his body, it was impossible for detectives to see how many time he was shot…
Police took Lorenzen’s body to be examined, and the autopsy report found bullet fragments in his skull, chest, and right arm. Detectives immediately started working to figure out who murdered the beloved athlete, but most of the evidence had deteriorated because of the heat and how long it took police to find Lorenzen.
Police failed to find the murder weapon or much evidence left at the crime scene, so they didn’t have much information to work with. By the following December, the police department had received only 22 tips on the high-profile murder…
Detectives looked into each anonymous tip, but none of them were found to be true or led to any developments in the case. And when police spoke to Lorenzen’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, who was last seen with Lorenzen before he was murdered, they were left further confused.
According to Wright, the mother of Lorenzen’s 6 kids had come over for a visit to her home on July 18. While at her home, Wright told police that the 34-year-old made a call to an unknown person and that she heard him talking about money…
Alleged Last Moments
Wright explained that Lorenzen was talking about flipping something for $110,000. At around 10:30 p.m., shortly after the phone call, Lorenzen left with a bag of drugs and got in the car waiting outside that was being driven by someone she couldn’t see.
The Case Goes Cold
Police worked as hard as they possibly could to find the hometown hero’s murderer, but as months passed, they failed to find any new clues. Yet the detectives never gave up on the case, and were still investigating the murder seven years later in 2017…
The Investigation Continues
“The Lorenzen Wright case has stayed in the public eye for many years,” Memphis police Director Michael Rallings said. “We said many times that we had never stopped investigating.” And in late 2017, police finally made a breakthrough.
On November 9, 2017, police discovered a gun in a lake near Walnut, Mississippi, which was about 75 miles east of Memphis, where Lorenzen was murdered. After inspecting the weapon, investigators believed they found the gun that was used to murder the basketball player…
“The weapon was key,” Detective Rallings said. With the vital piece of evidence, police were able to charge Billy Turner for the Lorenzen’s murder on December 5, 2017. Turner had no connection to Lorenzen, but was linked to his ex-wife. Soon after, police linked Wright to the crime and charged her with first-degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Police haven’t revealed the relationship between Wright and Turner, but his friends believe he’s innocent and had no motive to kill the athlete. Meanwhile, police believe Wright’s motive for the murder was to receive his 1 million dollar life insurance policy, which didn’t surprise Lorenzen’s mother, Marion. “I’m ecstatic. I’m full of flame,” Marion said. “We got the main player.”