MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Another brief court appearance and another delay in the Lorenzen Wright murder case on Wednesday.
Billy Ray Turner was in the courtroom less than two minutes during which a judge announced a trial date would not be set, instead electing to set another hearing for February 11.
Turner’s attorney, John Perry, said they’re still in the process of locking down potential dates for several expert witnesses. He said it’s up to the court, but it could be late summer or fall before Turner goes to trial.
The case was originally scheduled to go to trial September 16, 2019, but was postponed after new evidence was presented to Turner’s defense.
Despite the time that’s passed, Perry said what hasn’t changed is Turner’s story.
“He still maintains that he had nothing to do with the commission of the act involving Lorenzen Wright, whatsoever…planning, doing the execution of it, or anything, and he maintains that and will maintain that…I’m…steadfastly I’m sure, from this point forward.”
On Wednesday, protestors gathered outside the Shelby County Justice Center claiming justice has not been served. They said despite Turner’s arrest and Sherra Wright’s prosecution, others involved have not been brought forward.
Turner, a convicted felon, has pleaded not guilty to murder and conspiracy in Wright’s death. The retired NBA player’s decomposing body was found riddled with gunshot wounds in a swampy field in southeast Memphis in July 2010. He had been missing for 10 before his body was found.
A Memphis native, the 6-foot 11-inch Wright played 13 seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies and four other NBA teams.
Turner, as well as Wright’s ex-wife, were indicted in December 2017. Sherra Wright entered a surprise guilty plea to facilitation of murder in June. Coffee sentenced her to 30 years in prison.
During a court appearance in December, defense attorney John Keith Perry said they are working to coordinate schedules for “50, 60” witnesses to appear at a possible trial, he said outside the courtroom.
Turner pleaded guilty in June to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. Prosecutors say Turner had two guns when he was charged with Wright’s killing. Turner has been sentenced to 16 years in prison on the separate gun charge.
Turner, a landscaper in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, attended the same church as Sherra Wright. Witnesses said Sherra Wright was the mastermind of a plan to have two men kill Lorenzen Wright at his Atlanta home, but that attempt failed, according to an affidavit.
Sherra Wright and Turner then conspired to kill the ex-player in Memphis, andthey dumped one of the guns used in the shooting in a north Mississippi lake, authorities have said. A gun that was allegedly used in the killing was found in the lake weeks before charges were filed in the case.