Ex-wife of slain former NBA player sentenced to 30 years

The ex-wife of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for her role in his 2010 shooting death in Memphis.

Appearing in in a Shelby County court, the defendant, Sherra Wright, pleaded guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder and facilitation of a criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder. Then, Judge Lee Coffee imposed the sentence.

Wright was scheduled to go to trial with co-defendant Billy Turner in September on first-degree murder charges before agreeing to a plea deal. She'd been facing life behind bars if convicted.

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Athlete Lorenzen Wright's bullet-riddled body was discovered in a swampy field nine years ago this Sunday. He'd been missing for 10 days before he was found.

Sherra Wright, ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, in an undated photograph.(Riverside Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

Sherra Wright, ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, in an undated photograph.(Riverside Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

"This is obviously a violent offense, an offense that has torn apart a family, an offense that's been highlighted throughout Memphis and the media and everything else," prosecutor Paul Hagerman said after the hearing.

Prosecutors believe Wright conspired with Turner to kill her ex-husband. One of the guns used in the murder was dumped in a Mississippi lake and found weeks before the pair were arrested and charged.

Investigators believe Wright planned to have Lorenzen Wright killed in his Atlanta home by Turner and another man. When that attempt failed, she and Turner plotted to kill him in Memphis.

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The NBA forward came to Memphis on July 18, 2010, to visit his six children at his ex-wife's home in a Memphis suburb. Investigators determined he was shot July 19 in a secluded, grassy area. He was reported missing July 22 and found July 28, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Turner and Sherra Wright were arrested in December 2017 in connection with the murder.

Defense attorney Juni Ganguli said his client had grown tired of physical abuse by her husband.

"The beatings were consistent, and it led to her face being disfigured," Ganguli said. "She feared that Mr. Wright would never leave her alone, and she recruited Billy Turner to kill Mr. Wright."

In this Sept. 29, 2008, photo, Cleveland Cavalier Lorenzen Wright takes part in a media day in Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)

In this Sept. 29, 2008, photo, Cleveland Cavalier Lorenzen Wright takes part in a media day in Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)

Sherra Wright collected from her ex-husband's $1 million life insurance policy, but agreed to a settlement in 2014 in a dispute over how she spent the money, which was meant to benefit their six children.

Turner is expected to go to trial in September. Wright will be eligible for release after serving eight years.

Lorenzen Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, told reporters that family members would be attending parole hearings. She said she hopes Sherra Wright serves her full sentence.

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"My son is serving life," she said.

Wright played for the Memphis Grizzlies and several other teams during his 13-year career in the NBA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.