MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis police were told Billy Turner was involved in Lorenzen Wright’s murder more than 7 years ago.
We now know two CrimeStoppers tips from 2010 specifically mentioned the suspect police locked up two days ago.
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Tuesday morning, Billy Ray Turner was handcuffed in a Collierville gas station.
Hours later, a press conference was held to announce an arrest in the Lorenzen Wright murder.
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But more than 7 years earlier, in November 2010, the CrimeStoppers phone line rang.
“We got two tips on Billy Ray [Turner] during the month of November. One said Billy Ray did it and was a suspect, and one that gave his whole name and said he had done it and was the suspect,” said Buddy Chapman, Director of CrimeStoppers.
Chapman said his team quickly passed the info along to the homicide bureau.
“Then we checked to see why we had gotten it back and it had come back "of no value." Why that was, I don't know,” said Chapman.
Chapman, the longtime Director of the Memphis Police Department, told FOX13 the delay in an arrest is not necessarily a mistake.
“There are a lot of reasons it could have no value. If we send a name and they've already interrogated that person, having that name does not give them any help,” he said.
Memphis Police only said, “We do not discuss any CrimeStoppers tips.”
So there is no telling what they did or did not do with the information.
“Two factors to solving a case, one is knowing who did it. The other is proving it,” said Chapman.
When asked if MPD detectives were waiting on evidence, like the murder weapon recently found in a North Mississippi lake, Chapman said, ”That's very possible. I think probably, they knew all about [Turner] and he was on their radar.”
The murder of the hometown NBA star has generated dozens of calls over the years.
“I think it was about 70,” said Chapman.
We now know two of those calls pointed to one man, Turner, who is now locked up in 201.
As for the tipsters, they may not be receiving the $21,000 reward.
“Neither one is eligible for the reward because the police department is saying they didn't need that.”
While no one is getting the reward right now, Chapman said that could still change.
If police come back and tell CrimeStoppers that the tip led them to arrest Turner, the caller could get the cash.
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