Billy Ray Turner sentenced to 16 years in gun case

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  The man accused of helping Sherra Wright kill her ex-husband Lorenzen Wright has been sentenced to 16 years behind bars in an unrelated gun case.

Billy Ray Turner will have to serve 35 percent of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.

“It think it was a fair application of the factors involved. That was kinda what we were gunning for, and we got that,” Turner’s attorney John Perry said.

The prosecution initially asked Judge Coffee to sentence Turner to 20 years behind bars while the defense asked for 12 years. Coffee said he gave Turner credit for pleading guilty to the charges instead of allowing this case to go to trial. He also noted that Turner had a clean record with no other convictions since the early 90s.

During the course proceeding, the state called three witnesses to the stand to testify in the sentencing hearing.

The first was Sgt. Brian Beasley who searched Billy Ray Turner’s home and found a loaded shotgun in a bedroom closet along with ammo. They also found 17, 12-guage shotgun shells in the trunk of Turner’s Dodge Stratus.

The next witness was an undercover officer who was involved in Turner’s arrest. He said at that time he didn’t find any firearms but did come across a holster.

Finally, the third was a detective who was involved in the wiretap investigation who said he intercepted a call between Turner and a man. In the background, he said they heard a woman- supposedly Turner’s mentally ill sister Sherry Turner – yelling “you better hide that gun.”

He said Turner threatened to shoot his sister in that call.

Turner pleads guilty to gun charges

Turner pleaded guilty to the gun charges back in June 2019 and was scheduled to be sentenced on July 26. However, that sentencing hearing was pushed back after Sherra Wright unexpectedly appeared in court on July 25 to announce she had pleaded guilty to facilitation charges related to Lorenzen’s case.

In his gun case, Turner was charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun after officers found two guns at his home when he was arrested in connection to the murder of basketball star Lorenzen Wright. Court records show him in possession of a .38 revolver and 9 mm handgun.

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Prior Tennessee criminal records for Turner list charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and cocaine sales from 1992. That means he was not allowed to have a gun in his possession.

Turner pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a gun. The second gun charge was dismissed.

Turner is set to face trial in the Lorenzen Wright murder case in September.

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