It’s been seven years since former NBA journeyman Lorenzen Wright was found murdered in a wooded area in his hometown Memphis, and it’s a case that had long-since gone cold due to a number of mitigating factors.
But local police caught a huge break recently when they discovered what they believed to be one of the murder weapons in a nearby Mississippi lake. On Tuesday, that apparently led authorities to arrest and charge a man in connection with the crime, via Katie Fretland and Daniel Connolly of The Commercial Appeal.
Billy Turner, 46, has been charged with first-degree murder. According to a document, he was indicted Tuesday. The Multi Agency Gang Unit saw him leave a house in the 4700 block of Waterfront Oak Drive, get into a vehicle and travel to the Collierville Express Mart on U.S. 72. He was then arrested.
Authorities confirmed last month they had found a gun believed to be the murder weapon in a lake in the Walnut, Mississippi, area. That discovery prompted officials to publicize a $21,000 reward for information established in the case years earlier.
Wright was believed to have had at least some loose ties to a local crime syndicate. A few years prior to his death, Wright sold two vehicles – a Mercedez Benz and a Cadillac Escalade – to known associates of Memphis drug kingpin Craig Petties.
Wright had financial problems after his NBA career ended in 2009, and on the night of his disappearance, his ex-wife Sherra Robinson Wright told police that he left the house frantically with a box of drugs and money and got into a car with two unknown persons.
Wright later made a 911 call in which gunshots can be heard in the background. However, his body wouldn’t be found for several days as the call was redirected to the wrong dispatch center and they were thus unable to triangulate the location of his call using his cell phone.
In the July heat, Wright’s body was so badly decomposed by the time he was discovered that much of the DNA evidence had been lost. But according to forensic reports, at least two different guns were used in the murder, so presumably at least one more suspect in the case remains at large.
Regardless, Tuesday’s arrest represents a long-awaited break in a case that has baffled everyone involved for years.