MEMPHIS, Tenn.– It took years for police to solve the murder of Lorenzen Wright. Now, Billy Ray Turner, the last person charged with Wright’s killing, has been convicted. But the case may never have been cracked without the help of a special crime fighting unit.
We sat down with the man who headed up that task force that put Lorenzen Wright’s killing back on the radar.
It was 2016 when the Multi Agency Gang Unit started delving into one the most high profile unsolved murder cases in Memphis, the 2010 murder of basketball stand out Lorenzen Wright.
Retired Memphis Police Colonel Darren Goods was Operations Manager of the of the Gang Unit at the time. He retired from the Memphis Police Department in 2020.
“Yes it was a cold case, but it wasn’t in the sense that there was no one working you know information come in, those guys were acting on follow up on it,” Goods said.
But Gang Unit investigators told Goods they had new information that someone close to Lorenzen may have been involved.
“The intel that they had was pretty compelling. So then it became a situation where I went to then Director Armstrong said I think we may be able to do something with Lorenzen Wright case and I really feel that we can solve this case and he was like he gave us his blessings and said what do you need,” Goods said.
He said MGU had more time and more officers to devote to the case. They went over evidence and went back to tipster, Jimmie Martin, Sherra Wright’s cousin.
Martin had told officers in 2012 where to find the gun, but volunteer divers never could find it.
“The key was that we knew that if we found that gun, then that would corroborate what Jimmie Martin was telling us,” Goods said.
The Gang Unit had access to an FBI expert dive team.
“They said Hey man, we’ve got one of the best dive search teams in the world and it was okay that we need them,” Goods said.
They found they gun and that opened the floodgates. Tipster Jimmie Martin was starting to look very credible.
“When you are able to corroborate everything that he was saying, it becomes kind of really compelling and just kind of, you know, the investigation kind of takes direction on his own. You just kind of follow it,” Goods said.
By 2017, they had enough to arrest Billy Turner and then Sherra Wright, taking their work public.
“We followed the evidence and the evidence led us to Billy Ray Turner and Sherra Wright,” Goods said during a press conference back in December 2017.
During the trial, Goods felt good about what his team had done, but the guilty verdict brought it all to fruition. We showed him how Lorenzen Wright’s mom Deborah Marion summed it up.
“They were too good. They did their job. If I had some money to pay them, I would pay them myself,” Marion said “They did good. The A Team did what they were supposed to do.”
“One thing I can say about Ms. D. Everybody needs a Ms. D in their corner,” Goods said. “The more time we spent with her. The harder these guys fought, the harder they worked.”
Darren Goods is now working in the Office of Juvenile Justice at the Department of Children Services. The Multi Agency Gang Unit is still going strong.