MEMPHIS, Tenn.– It took jurors less than three hours to find Billy Ray Turner guilty of murdering Memphis basketball player Lorenzen Wright in 2010.
Judge Lee Coffee told jurors they were to consider only two things.
“You shall not have sympathy or prejudice, for or against the defendant, or for or against the State of Tennessee, or allow anything but the law and the evidence to have any influence upon your verdict,” Judge Coffee said.
Much of the trial centered around Jimmie Martin, who got immunity for his testimony and provided details about the crime that had never been heard.
“Lorenzen had his back to them. They started chasing him. They started firing at him chasing him. He jumped through the fence. He was jumping like a deer. They caught him when he fell,” Martin said.
Billy Turner’s attorney John Keith Perry said Martin couldn’t be believed and was the actual killer.
“You have a guy who has a horrible, horrible demeanor. You see that he has all the incentive in the world. He is angry at his cousin. And he just simply takes Billy’s name and inserts it where his belongs,” Perry said.
The defense only called one witness, Jennifer Bogan, to vouch for Billy Turner’s whereabouts the night of the killing and she could only account for Turner up to 10 p.m. Lorenzen was killed around midnight.
The jurors had plenty to consider.
“When you are thinking about who murdered Lorenzen Wright, whose phone is over the site..Billy Turner. Who is the last text with Sherra? Billy Turner. Who said what do you need me to do? Billy Turner. Who is the person who pulled that trigger and Murdered Lorenzen Wright while Jimmie is in Batesville? Billy Turner,” said assistant prosecuting attorney Austin Scofield. “After you review all this proof, I expect you to find guilty on all charges.”
Turner was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction. He faces 15 to 20 years for each of the other two charges. Those sentences will be decided later.