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Slain Basketball Star Lorenzen Wright’s Former Cousin-in-Law Testifies About Botched Initial Murder Attempt



Slain NBA center Lorenzen Wright‘s former cousin-in-law said that he did not pull the trigger in the star’s actual killing, but he testified on Friday that Wright’s ex-wife recruited him and the accused killer Billy Ray Turner for an initial attempt on the basketball player’s life.

“We’re not talking about professional hitmen here, are we?” asked prosecutor Paul Hagerman.

“No sir,” witness Jimmie Martin, who is Wright’s ex-cousin-in-law and an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, answered on the stand.

Prosecutors say Lorenzen’s ex-wife Sherra Wright recruited her cousin Martin and her lover Turner to plan and carry out the killing. Martin testified that he did not show up to the actual murder on July 19, 2010 in Tennessee, and that Sherra had him come over to the scene after that to help clean up evidence. He claimed he feared for his life during the plot and that both he and Turner agreed that Sherra was “crazy.”

But Martin, who is serving time for an unrelated murder, said he and Turner engaged in an initial attempt against Lorenzen. Martin said that Sherra told them she left open a window at Lorenzen’s Atlanta condo. According to Martin, the men, armed with guns, drove over, and they found the window, which led into a game room featuring a pool table, a PlayStation, lounges, seats, and a TV.

No one was in the room. Martin testified that they tried to be quiet and drew their guns on entering. They made their way into the living room to find someone sleeping on the couch. Martin said he could not tell who the person was, but it was not Lorenzen because this person was way smaller. They got very close to the sleeping individual but left this person unharmed and exited the condo.

Sherra Wright is serving a 30-year sentence after pleading guilty to facilitation to commit murder and facilitation to commit attempted first-degree murder. Martin is not doing much better, serving a 20-year sentence for killing girlfriend Martha Jean Bownes. Jurors acquitted him in 2009 on a charge of first-degree murder, but got stuck on a lesser charge of second-degree murder. Martin was out on bond during the Lorenzen Wright murder, but ended up getting convicted on the second-degree murder charge in 2012.  That’s when he first stepped forward to investigators about his role in Wright’s death. But Turner’s defense lawyer John Keith Perry said in opening statements that Martin was being self-serving as he was facing sentencing for killing Bownes.

He called the unindicted co-conspirator the real killer, referring to him as “the type of person who changes facts like a person changes drawers.”

In Martin’s testimony, Sherra said she told Lorenzen she was going to meet someone for money. She lured her ex-husband out. That’s when she and Turner chased Lorenzen, who ran, and jumped over the fence like a “deer.” He said that according to Sherra, both she and Turner fired.


Hagerman said in opening statements that Sherra Wright did not strike Lorenzen, and threw away her gun in bushes during a moment of fear and excitement.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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