LORENZEN WRIGHT MURDER: Everything we learned from day 4 of testimony

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The prosecution’s star witness, Jimmie Martin, continued his testimony Friday morning about the plan to kill Lorenzen Wright.

Turner’s defense team is trying to paint Martin as an untrustworthy witness.

During cross-examination, the defense team noted inconsistencies with his testimony and his statements to police in 2012. Martin agreed to an immunity deal in 2012. That’s when he told investigators he helped clean up the crime scene and drove to Mississippi with Turner to get rid of the murder weapon in a lake.

But before the defense got its turn, Martin explained never before heard details about the case and Lorenzen’s last moments alive.

ADA Hagerman questioned Martin about July 18, 2010, the day before Lorenzen was killed. Wright was killed just after midnight on July 19.

On the stand Friday, Martin identified Billy Ray Turner and Sherra Wright as the gunmen in Lorenzen Wright’s murder.

Martin testified that he was in Batesville, Mississippi, on the night of Lorenzen’s murder. But he said a day or two later, Sherra Wright called him and drove to Batesville to pick him up. During that drive back to Memphis, Martin said Sherra told him everything, saying it was done.

Jimmie Martin: “The plan went through. Everything went through that night. She said the plan to murder Lorenzen had went through.”

Paul Hagerman: “The plan to murder had happened?”

Jimmie Martin: “It had happened.”

Martin said Sherra also explained exactly how she lured Lorenzen to a secluded area and ambushed him with the help of Billy Ray Turner.

“She said she told Lorenzen that she was going to meet somebody for some money. That’s when she met up with Billy on an abandoned rural road,” Martin said.

Martin testified Lorenzen tried to get away when he realized he was in danger. Martin told the jury that Billy and Sherra chased Lorenzen down before killing him.

Jimmie Martin: “Lorenzen had his back to them. They started chasing, started firing at him, chasing him. He jumped through the fence. He was jumping like a deer. They caught him when he fell.”

Paul Hagerman: “Did she say whether or not she had a gun?”

Jimmie Martin: “Yes, sir.”

Paul Hagerman: “Did she say whether or not Billy had a gun?”

Jimmie Martin: “Yes, sir. She said both of them had guns.”

Paul Hagerman: “Did she say whether or not both of them fired?”

Jimmie Martin: “She said both of them fired.”

Martin testified that after the murder, he was pulled in to help clean up the crime scene in southeast Memphis. He said that Sherra needed a metal detector from his mother’s house because one of the guns used to kill Lorenzen had been dropped at the scene.

He said Sherra Wright and Turner took him to the crime scene and that Turner had bolt cutters to cut out part of a fence.

Martin described how he and Turner got rid of the gun used to kill Lorenzen Wright. He said Turner threw the weapon into a Mississippi lake and that Turner threw a shotgun somewhere as well.

“There was a shotgun and shotgun shells also in the car. He threw the pistol away and went down a couple ways and threw the shotgun,” Martin said.

He said other pieces of evidence were thrown in a dumpster away from the murder scene.

Martin said he helped dispose of rags, bolt cutters, and two other guns.

Martin said he wasn’t present to witness the murder but learned through conversation with Sherra how Lorenzen Wright was killed.

Martin told the court he didn’t go to the police because he was already in legal trouble, and he thought talking to detectives would have only gotten him into more trouble.

Defense attorney John Perry cross-examined Martin.

Perry asked Martin about talking to police detectives in May 2012, a few weeks after he was convicted of a crime. Perry said Martin had not included some details he gave them in his current testimony. Perry was attempting to point out inconsistencies in Martin’s testimony.

One inconsistency Perry pointed out was that Martin never told investigators he went inside Lorenzen Wright’s Atlanta condo before this trial. Martin had told them he stayed outside while Turner went in.

Martin told Perry that he doesn’t really remember.

After a lunch break, Perry continued to question Martin about inconsistencies in his story.

Martin testified he was told that Turner and Sherra both fired shots at Lorenzen Wright. The defense pointed to a statement Martin made in 2012, where he said Turner was the only one who did the shooting and that he used both guns.

The defense played parts of that 2012 statement in the court.

Martin said he was only asked what Billy did, so he did not mention Sherra. Martin testified that he did not say Billy was using both guns at the same time.

After cross-examination, ADA Hagerman has a chance to speak again. He said that in all the statements Martin has made to investigators, he talked about a plan to kill Wright that included Sherra and Martin, a trip to Atlanta to kill Wright, and how the gun was dumped in a lake in Mississippi.

MPD Homicide Detective Nino Frias was next to take the stand. Det. Frias testified about his interrogation of Bill Ray Turner. He also answered questions about the evidence and information collected throughout the investigation leading up to Turner’s arrest. The detective said Turner denied being involved in the murder and eventually requested a lawyer.

Next up was Michael Gibson, a friend of Lorenzen Wright’s who lived with him in the Atlanta condo. Gibson described himself as Lorenzen’s best friend. He testified that he slept on Lorenzen Wright’s couch while he was there. He also said Sherra Wright had visited once to scope out the property.

MPD Lt. Brian Beasley was the last witness called on Friday. He was questioned about Billy Turner’s Dodge Stratus car. Photos of the vehicle were entered into evidence, as well as photos of what was found in the trunk, including red wire cutters and shotgun shells.

Lt. Beasley also discussed wiretaps on Turner’s and Sherra Wright’s phones and how the wiretaps showed that the two planned to meet up after the murder.

After Lt. Beasley’s testimony, Judge Coffee decided to end for the day and return at 9 a.m. Saturday.

FOX13 will be inside the courtroom Saturday as Billy Ray Turner’s trial continues, and we will bring you continuous coverage throughout the entire trial.

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Stay with FOX13 News for the newest and latest information on this case.

Timeline from Lorenzen’s murder to Turner and Wright’s arrests

This is a murder investigation FOX13 has followed from the very beginning.

Victim Lorenzen Wright was a beloved Memphian and a Booker T Washington graduate who played basketball for two years at The University of Memphis before joining the NBA. He also played five seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Wright was last seen on July 18, 2010. A Germantown dispatcher answered a 911 call from the basketball star’s cell phone the next day. The dispatcher heard 11 gunshots ring out.

The dispatcher didn’t tell her supervisor about the call until 8 days later.

The very next day, Memphis police found Wright’s decomposing body in a field in southeast Memphis.

It took investigators another seven years to find the gun used to kill Wright. In November 2017, FOX13 reported the gun was found in a lake in Tippah County, Mississippi. That’s over 88 miles from where his body was found.

A month later, police made two arrests in the case: Billy Ray Turner and Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright.

Gun used in killing found in Mississippi lake, police say 12/5/2017

Who is Billy Ray Turner?

WATCH: Breakdown of the chain of events that led to Billy Turner’s arrest

Turner lived in a quiet neighborhood, on a dead-end street in Raleigh.

Three sources told FOX13 he worked at the Wright home and did yard work.

Turner was 46 years old when he was arrested on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, and charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the Lorenzen Wright case.

According to the TBI, Turner was arrested and convicted of violent crimes back in the 1990′s.

Collierville police arrested Turner for aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping back in 1992. During the same year, police arrested him for selling cocaine and he was sentenced to four years in prison.

In 1996, police in Collierville arrested him for criminal trespass. Fifteen years later, police picked him up on minor traffic violations.

Turner has openly proclaimed his Christian faith on social media. FOX13 discovered Turner was a deacon at Mount Olive Number One Baptist Church, a church attended by Lorenzen Wright and his ex-wife.

The connection between Lorenzen Wright and alleged killer Billy Turner 12/6/2017

Who is Billy Turner? Suspect accused in Lorenzen Wright murder 4/6/2018

Building the Case

The seven-year investigation into Lorenzen Wright’s murder was one of the Memphis Police Department’s most high-profile unsolved cases.

Almost a month after the gun believed to have been used in Wright’s murder was found in a Mississippi lake, Turner was charged with first-degree murder on December 5, 2017. Sherra Wright was arrested in California in connection with the murder ten days later on December 15, 2017. She was originally indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, criminal attempted first-degree murder, and first-degree murder.

In April of 2018, indictment documents detailed the allegations against Sherra and Turner. The indictment alleges they tried to kill Wright multiple times. Sherra’s bond was set at $20M. Turner was given a $15M bond.

During Turner’s hearing, the public learned bombshell information regarding the alleged murder plot. A statement provided by an informant, Jimmie Martin, was read. Martin was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend in 2012 and was serving 20 years in prison. He is also Sherra Wright’s cousin.

Martin claimed to be the third co-conspirator in the murder. Prosecutors said that Martin flipped on Sherra and Turner and told homicide detectives he had information related to Lorenzen’s killing. In the statement, Martin detailed the alleged murder plot -- including a failed attempt in Atlanta, how Sherra got Lorenzen back to Memphis, clean-up of the crime scene and more.

In May of 2019, it was decided that Sherra and Turner would face a jury of their peers in Shelby County.

In July of 2019, Sherra took a deal and pleaded guilty to Facilitation of Murder in the First Degree and is serving up to a 30-year sentence.

It is unknown if she will be called as a witness in Turner’s case.

Initially, Turner’s trial date was set for September 2019. It was reset so his attorney could look over new evidence.

The new trial date was slated for October 2020 but did not happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Coverage:

Lorenzen’s mom visits lake where gun was found 12/6/2017

‘How could you have murdered my son?’ Lorenzen Wright’s mom berates murder suspect in court 12/7/2017

Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife Sherra charged with his murder 12/22/2017

Sherra Wright and Billy Turner tried to kill Lorenzen multiple times, documents say 4/6/2018

Detectives seize Turner’s old car, believe it was used the night of the murder 5/6/2018

Sherra Wright’s bond set at $20 million 5/20/2018

Sherra Wright’s cousin details murder plot in bombshell statement, $15M bond for Turner 5/12/2018

Sherra Wright’s attorneys removed from case, say they can no longer represent her 6/11/2018

The reason why Sherra Wright was wearing red in court 6/11/2018

Tension between Lorenzen’s mother and Sherra Wright continues as trial date is set 11/29/2018

Judge denies motion to suppress wiretap in Lorenzen Wright murder case 5/30/2019

Trial location won’t be moved for Lorenzen Wright murder trial 5/30/2019

Sherra Wright pleads guilty, sentenced 30 years for her role in murder of Lorenzen Wright 7/25/2019

Memphis high school coach remembers NBA star Lorenzen Wright 7/27/2019

The wait continues for Billy Ray Turner to go to trial 1/15/2020

Sherra Wright pleads guilty for her role in Lorenzen Wright’s murder 1 year ago today 7/25/2020

COVID-19 puts Lorenzen Wright’s mother’s pursuit of justice on hold 8/12/2020

Lorenzen Wright’s mother plans to be at parole hearings 8/14/2020

Billy Ray Turner, man accused of killing Lorenzen Wright, returns to court; trial set to begin Jan. 2022 6/2/2021

New drama involving murder of Lorenzen Wright as twin sons speak out for first time 7/14/2021