ESPN profiling SIUE basketball players trying to honor their murdered father

Illinois

Lamar Wright, and his brother Shamar, are sophomores at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Their father, Lorenzen, was murdered in July 2010. Their mother has gone to court in an effort to throw out her guilty plea in connection with the case. Photo credit: ESPN

Eleven years after their father Lorenzen Wright was found dead in Memphis, Tennessee, and almost two years to the day their mother went to court to plead guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder, two members of the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville men’s basketball program are sharing their family’s story on national television Wednesday night.

In “A Murder in Memphis,” for the first time, Wright’s twin sons Lamar and Shamar Wright open up about their father, their parents’ marriage, accusations against their mother and more. Also, for the first time since she was imprisoned for her involvement in Wright’s death, his ex-wife Sherra, defends herself in an exclusive interview with E60’s Lisa Salters.

ESPN news release

Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner were charged in December 2017 with first-degree murder and conspiracy. Turner’s trial has been scheduled for January after two delays. He has already pleaded guilty to a gun charge related to Lorenzen Wright’s shooting. Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to a different charge in July 2019 that carried the potential for an earlier release from prison.

Wright’s decomposing body was found riddled with bullet wounds in a swampy field in east Memphis on July 28, 2010. Wright, 34, had been missing for 10 days before his body was discovered.

Now working to have her guilty plea thrown out, Sherra Wright alleges that her conviction was “unlawfully induced” and involuntarily entered without her understanding the nature and consequences of the plea, her court filing showed. Wright claimed her coerced confession was the result of ineffective counsel and her constitutional rights to due process and protection from self-incrimination were violated.

In a January 2020 story published by The Athletic, the Wright brothers were described as “fiercely loyal to their mother and their father.”

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Lamar Wright told ESPN for the interview airing Wednesday that he believes his mother. “I’ve seen the hurt in my mom. I’ve seen the hurt that she’s had. And, like, I know how much harder her life is without my father, and I know how much she loved him.”

“A Murder in Memphis” can be seen Wednesday July 14 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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