• Jimmy Martin: The man who can convict Sherra Wright?

    By: Greg Coy

    Updated:

    The Mississippi town of Batesville will play a central role in the Lorenzen Wright murder trial.   

    A third conspirator identified at the last court hearing as Jimmy Martin grew up in Batesville and is a cousin of Sherra Wright.  

    Prosecutors claim Sherra Wright recruited Martin, a cousin of hers, to kill her ex-husband Lorenzen. 
    Batesville, Mississippi is small city with a population of about 7,400.   

    FOX13 asked people if they had ever heard of Jimmy Martin. Clarence Rudd who owns a local tire shop said he didn't remember his face when FOX13 showed Rudd a picture of Martin. “Jimmy Martin. That name sounds familiar, but I just can’t pick him up.”

    Tammy Dean, who manages the very popular Square Cafe in Batesville. “Jimmy Martin?” asked Dean, “No sir,” when asked if regulars had mentioned his name.

    Jimmy Martin never mattered until the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office named him as coconspirator in the murder of Lorenzen Wright.

    Martin told detectives the murder weapon was tossed in a lake in Walnut, Mississippi back in 2010 after Lorenzen was killed.  

    Martin told investigators he was recruited. He also participated in a failed plot to kill Wright at his home in Atlanta, Georgia and helped cover up the murder scene.

    “I think it is awful. I would never think that anyone from Batesville would commit such a crime or be involved in it,” said Rudd as he changed tires.


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    Martin's mother Edna Richardson lives in Batesville. FOX13 knocked on her door to try and get her side of the story.  

    “I wanted to know if I can ask you a question about Jimmy?" asked FOX13’s Greg Coy.

    According to prosecutors, Martin borrowed his mother's metal detector to help cover the murder scene after he told investigators Sherra Wright and Billy Turner confessed to him they killed Lorenzen.  



    "Ma’am I just want to ask you if your son was involved as prosecutors say,” asked FOX13’s Greg Coy.
    Richardson didn't open the door, didn't answer a question, told our crew to leave and called the police to make sure we did.  

    Shelby County Prosecutors read an indictment in court that alleged Martin knew Sherra Wright because they are cousins and she offered him money to try and kill Lorenzen.  

    “I think that is pitiful. I got kinfolk, I got kin people too,” said Clarence Rudd.

    Reverend Zannie Leland is the Pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Batesville. Reverend Leland told FOX13 he knew Jimmy Martin in passing, “I am just bum buzz fuddled by everything. I am kind of amazed,” said Leland who knew Martin's parents and described them as, “a hard-working family, a Christian family. “

    Reverend Leland also knows Martha Jean Bownes, Martin's girlfriend. He said the two lived in Memphis.

    FOX13 went to the Batesville Library and looked at the South Panola High School yearbooks and discovered both Marin and Bownes attended the same school.  

    In 2012, a Shelby County Jury convicted Martin of killing Bownes. He was sentenced to 20 years for second degree murder.  

    "She had an exuberant spirit, but I never saw her as a trouble maker.  She was, you know, straight line,” remember Leland.  

    John Keith Perry is Billy Turner's lawyer. Perry told FOX13 Jimmy Martin has no credibility because he lied about killing his girlfriend, Martha Bownes.  

    Back in Batesville, FOX13 inquired if anyone would believe Martin and his account of Lorenzen Wright's murder and how he implicated Billy Turner and his cousin Sherra Wright.

    "He is telling you the truth if he is from around here. He is just going to have face the facts,” said Clarence Rudd.

    Batesville is an hour away from Memphis, but one of the people who called this community home is now a key witness for the prosecution in the Wright murder trial that involves money, sex, and family ties.    
    "We are a small enough town that we just, don’t expect that,” said Reverend Leland


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