MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Authorities indicted a man on Tuesday in connection with the murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, more than seven years after Wright's body was found decomposed in a suburb of Tennessee.
Billy Turner, 46, was charged with first-degree murder and had $ 1 million bail, said Shelby County Attorney General Amy Weirich. The court records did not include a lawyer for him or a date for a court hearing. Weirich and police director Michael Rallings refused to discuss any details about the arrest or investigation.
Wright's body was found in the suburbs of Memphis on July 28, 2010, 10 days after the 34-year-old man disappeared. He was shot several times. The seven-year investigation into his death has been one of the most important unresolved cases of the Memphis Police Department.
Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, had recently told the media that she was not losing hope as the search for her son's killer dragged on.
Police said last month they had found a weapon used in the murder in a lake near Walnut, Mississippi, about 1
Born and raised in Memphis, he was a fan favorite thanks to his charitable work with the youth and his father's participation as a coach in the summer leagues. Former players and friends of the NBA as Anfernee Hardaway and Elliot Perry attended a memorial service Wright in the days after its discovery.
The father of six was last seen on July 18, 2011, when he left the home of his ex-wife, Sherra Wright. According to an affidavit, Sherra Wright told police she saw him leave his home carrying money and a box of drugs.
Before leaving, Sherra Wright said she heard her ex-husband on the phone telling someone he would "throw something for $ 110,000," the document said.
Sherra Wright said that Lorenzen Wright left his home in a car with a person he could not identify. The affidavit says that Sherra Wright gave the statements to police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, where she lives, on July 27, nine days after she left home for the last time.
In the early hours of July 19, a police dispatcher in the suburb of Germantown received a call from Wright's cell phone. The dispatchers recognized that they heard noises like shots before the call was withdrawn.
Dispatchers said they did not alert the patrol officers or commanders because they could not confirm that they were coming from their jurisdiction. They did not send a patrol officer or they relayed the information to the Memphis police until days later.
Wright's mother filed a missing person report with the Collierville police on July 22, 2010. Authorities in Collierville were charged with dragging their feet in the days after the report was filed, and an apparent lack Communication prevented the authorities from linking the 911 call with the report of the missing person.
Wright's body was found in a field near a forest in the middle of summer, complicating the investigation because the evidence probably deteriorated with the heat. An autopsy report showed fragments of bullets lodged in Wright's skull, chest and right forearm.
The corpse was decomposed, weighed 57 pounds (25 kilograms). The normal weight was 225 pounds (100 kilograms).