Batesville man tied to Wright murder plot
By Jeremy Weldon
Media outlets from around the Mid-South were in Batesville this week, each seeking information about a local man who has emerged as a co-conspirator in the 2010 death of Lorenzen Wright, a Memphis basketball player who starred at Memphis State University and played professionally for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jimmie Martin Jr., 36, was revealed as the hinted at third man involved in the killing that shocked the star’s many fans.
Prosecutors say Wright’s ex-wife Sherra Wright and her yard worker, Billy Ray Turner, killed him for insurance money.
The ex-wife was arrested in December of last year and details of the plot to murder Wright have slowly leaked since then.
In a Memphis courtroom last Friday, assistant district attorney Paul Hagerman told a judge that Martin, identified as Sherra Wright’s cousin, had been asked to help plan and participate in killing Wright.
Transcripts from the hearing indicate that Martin and Turner traveled to Atlanta to complete the planned murder, and entered Wright’s apartment through a window Sherra had unlocked while visiting a few weeks earlier.
The plot fell apart when they saw another man, not Wright, asleep in the living room. They returned to Batesville and Memphis undetected.
Later, Sherra reportedly came to Martin’s mother’s home on Draper St. in Batesville to tell him that she and Turner had killed Wright and he was needed to help clean up the crime scene.
Sherra Wright reportedly bought or borrowed a metal detector from Robinson to use in locating a gun that had been dropped at the scene.
Prosecutors say that it was Martin who eventually called investigators to give them information about the case, and showed them where the alleged murder weapon had been thrown into a lake off Hwy. 72 near Walnut.
Media outlets have scrambled to find out information about Martin, but so far details of his history have been murky, except for a conviction in the 2006 slaying of his girlfriend, Mary Jean Bownes, an Iraqi war veteran who was shot during a domestic dispute in a Memphis apartment.