MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents of Shelby County will make up the jury on the Lorenzen Wright murder trial, which is scheduled for later this year.
In court on Tuesday, the judge stated that Sherra Wright’s attorney had withdrawn their previous motion for a change of venue. They had originally asked that the jury be selected out of Davidson County, Tennessee, claiming there’s too much publicity and hate for her here to get a fair trial.
Judge Coffee stated the lawyers, as well as the court, are now confident that is not the case.
“We should really not underestimate the jurors in Shelby County to be fair to both sides. In any case, I think that in the 28 years I’ve been in this building I’m only aware of one case where a change of venue was granted or maybe requested. One case out of 28 years, and we tried some very high profile cases in this court in the last six months,” said Coffee.
“This is a case that receives not only local, statewide but international publicity. Every time this case is set, we have media from New York to California, all over the country, and I don’t know where this case can be tried that people will not have some information about this case.”
Now they will focus on the juror questionnaire to weed out those who may be biased, since Sherra’s attorneys say she has been attacked on social media.
“I am sure they are gonna make more and more hostile comments. We are confident the jury pool is not gonna be comprised of those people,” says Juni Ganguli, who is also Sherra’s attorney.
The attorneys also want to suppress wire-tapped conversations from their clients cell phones.
“Whether or not they followed procedure on what they were supposed to do in securing a wire tap application is something the court may be called upon to answer,” said John Perry, Billy Turner’s attorney.
Both Wright and co-defendant Billy Turner are facing murder charges in the case.
And they want prosecutors to reveal any deals they made with witnesses.
One person of interest is Jimmy Martin, Sherra’s cousin, who is said to have led police to the murder weapon found in a Mississippi and may have been in on the murder plot.
“He received less than the maximum on his own unrelated murder and, No. 2, he is not indicted for this homicide. So if you are talking about payment, that’s significant,” said Ganguli.
Prosecutors say any deals made will be revealed.
“If we are gonna call a witness and we have done something for that witness, we are gonna tell you about it,” said Prosecutor Paul Hagerman.
Sherra Wright and Billy Turner will be back in court Thursday morning, May 30, to discuss whether those wire-tapped phone calls can be used at the trial in September. Turner’s trial on a separate gun charge is set for June 17.
We also noticed dark marks on Sherra Wright’s face while she was in court Tuesday. We asked her attorney Juni Ganguli what happened. He said Sherra had not been in any fights, it was just a skin condition.