MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sherra Wright, her children and supporters testified on her behalf in a parole hearing Wednesday, as Lorenzen Wright’s family and law enforcement officials spoke against her release.
If parole is granted, Wright could be released three years after she was sentenced to serve 30.
“I’m sorry for what happened to him. I’m sorry because he’s not here. I’m sorry because my kids do not have their daddy,” Wright tearfully told the parole board. “I didn’t ever want to be without him because he was the love of my life. I just made bad decisions because I was scared.”
One parole board member hearing the case Wednesday said he would vote to deny parole to Wright. Now it’s up to other board members. Three of the seven board members must agree.
There is no word on when the final decision will be made.
Two of Wright’s children, Lorenzen Jr., the oldest, and the youngest, 15-year-old Sophia, were at the hearing in Nashville and spoke on her behalf.
Lorenzen Jr. read a letter from his brother Lamar, who said this has been hard on the family. He said his dad was a role model. But he still has to understand who his mom is — a victim of abuse.
Lorenzen Jr. said his mom has perseverance and submerged them in church after Lorenzen died.
“One thing about her is she is a fighter. She wants to protect us. She wants to make sure everyone is ok,” he said. “That’s her number one job make sure her kids are ok and I am ok.”
He also described how people after his dad came to Lorenzen Junior’s school looking for Lorenzen.
He said his mom going to classes in jail shows she has changed. Lorenzen Jr. broke down in tears and couldn’t continue.
Wright said she is taking classes while in prison. She will graduate in two weeks and will also receive an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. She has also taken classes on anger management, grief management, and parenting.
Wright detailed her life with Lorenzen Wright, saying he was into drug dealing and owed drug dealers money and she and her kids were being threatened. She said Lorenzen needed her help. She also said there were beatings and Lorenzen attempted suicide.
She says she sent Billy Ray Turner and Jimmie Martin to Atlanta to tell Lorenzen people were after him and threatening them.
A tearful Wright said Billy and Jimmie were supposed to take Lorenzen’s money the night he was killed. She says she never saw Lorenzen again. She says she knew something was wrong and they were hiding from her what they did. She also said her cousin Jimmie Martin lied to her.
She says she was indirectly responsible for Lorenzen’s death, since she sent drug dealers to his house.
Three other witnesses for Wright appeared at Wednesday’s hearing. The jail chaplain and head of a halfway house said her program has accepted that Wright should she be released.
Friend Chrissy Irby said Wright is not a threat to society. Her children and her friends need her.
Daughter Loren said the family needs Wright. She says her mom is smart and a victim of domestic violence. She is not perfect, and no one is.
“She has so much that she can do outside. Our family needs her. I am not saying that I can’t do it, but I am not her. I am not Mommie,” Loren said.
But many others spoke against Wright’s release on parole.
Deborah Marion, Lorenzen Wright’s mother, said she needs to stay there for her term. She has manipulated her kids and they don’t have the real story. She needs to do 30 years.
“She needs to do time. I am doing life without my child. So I want her to feel like I feel,” Marion said.
Zetty Vassar, Deborah Wright’s sister, said time has not been served. The kids will never have their dad back.
Sgt. Tony Parker, Memphis Police Department’s lead investigator, said Sherra can be manipulative. Sgt. Parker stated if she had evidence back then, they would have investigated it.
“She is not ready to get back into society. For a mother to sit back and plot and plan the murder of their children’s father, six children not gonna be able to see their father again that is very very manipulative,” Parker said.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said it is “outrageous to even be here at this hearing” after Wright pleaded guilty, saying Wright probably spent more time planning the crime than she had spent serving her sentence.
“Lorenzen Wright would be alive today but for her greed. She wanted him dead for the money,” Weirich said.
Wright went before the parole board in Nashville on Wednesday morning. Wright admitted to facilitating the murder of her ex-husband, former NBA star Lorenzen Wright. Instead of going to trial, she took a plea deal in July 2019.
The plea deal consisted of her getting a 30-year sentence and having to serve 30% of that. However, Sherra had already been in jail before her plea and that time counts towards her sentence.
Here is how the Tennessee Department of Corrections explains it:
- Wright gets credit for 551 days spent in jail before trial.
- She also gets 144 days of pretrial behavior credit.
- Since her conviction, she has also earned 441 days of sentence reduction credits.
That is a total of about three years of jail credit.