RIP Lorenzen Wright -case still unsolved
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Relatives and friends of Lorenzen Wright(notes) gathered Wednesday and grieved for the former NBA player who has been missing for 10 days, as police investigated the discovery of a man’s body outside of Memphis.
Wright’s uncle, Curtis Wright, told The Associated Press that police called the player’s father, Herb Wright, Wednesday afternoon with the news he had died.
Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore of the Memphis Police Department wrote in an e-mail to the AP that police were investigating the death of an unidentified man beside a wooded area about 15 miles south of downtown Memphis. Asked if the man was Wright, she wrote they could not confirm the victim’s identity Wednesday night.
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/sp/tools/med/2...1280380227.jpg Lorenzen Wright with the Cavaliers in 2009.
(Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
The family issued a statement through a cousin of Lorenzen Wright, Camella Logan: “Lorenzen’s family has come together to mourn his loss and honor his legacy. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers and condolences as they are comforting at this very difficult time. Additionally, we ask that you please respect our privacy as we try to cope with his sudden loss.”
Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, arrived at the scene Wednesday night with a handful of family members. She crossed the crime scene tape and tried to talk to police when she was told to move back. She sat in a TV van before returning to the tape. Two officers then let her through.
The distraught Marion then started running down the road toward the crime scene before being stopped by an officer. She spoke with officers, then walked back past reporters without speaking straight to a van.
The 34-year-old Wright was last seen July 18 when he was expected to fly out of town. His family filed a missing person report July 22.
Wright played 13 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers with 17 games in the 2008-09 season. Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made him a lottery pick with the No. 7 selection overall.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games.
By nightfall, nearly 200 people had visited the road blocked off by police while TV news helicopters showed investigators scouring the grounds for evidence. Police brought in a mobile command center that further blocked off the scene.
Former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who played at Memphis two years before Wright, said he heard the news from a friend and went to the scene near where the body was found.
“I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It’s just sad because we lost a good person and a brother,” Hardaway said.
Elliot Perry, another friend and former Memphis player, also was at the scene. Wendy Wilson, who once worked as Wright’s personal assistant, also was there and said Wright often used the road police had cordoned off as a shortcut to his mother’s house.
“He was a good person. He did not deserve to die this way. God is not pleased with this,” Wilson said.
Memphis Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley issued a statement late Wednesday saying, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lorenzen Wright. We lost a member of the Grizzlies family. Lorenzen delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in a Memphis community that watched him grow throughout his playing career …”
My dad told me yesterday he heard the news about his death and he said his wife is a suspect. He also said that he heard she paid somebody to kill him. He didn't say why she would have him killed.
She probably wanted the life insurance.
That's a possibility. He didn't have a clue that his wife is crazy? LOL.
Most women are.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Don't say that. I think more men than women are crazy LOL.
Any news updates on this story?
He made millions and his mom can't afford a private investigator? They ought to look into the wife more.
--Ex-NBA player Wright's death remains a mystery
..MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — In the year since Lorenzen Wright's decomposing body was found in a secluded field in southeast Memphis, his mother has kept pressing authorities to find whoever killed the former NBA player.
Deborah Marion has repeatedly visited and called the Memphis Police Department for answers about her son's shooting death, though authorities have very few.
"We are a long way from solving this crime," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said last week.
Marion said: "I will never lose hope until I'm dead and buried." But mistakes have hurt the case, which remains unsolved since Wright, 34, was found dead July 28, 2010.
Wright's relatives and friends have complained a missing person's report wasn't taken seriously. It was 10 days before his body was found, complicating the investigation because evidence was left to deteriorate in a swampy field at the height of summer. A 911 call made from Wright's cell phone soon after he was last seen by his family was botched by dispatchers. A small reward of $6,000 — less than the $8,000 offered by a family and animal rights groups for a missing pit bull named Kapone — has yielded just 28 Crime Stoppers tips.
Armstrong acknowledged the reward and the number of tips were low for such a high-profile case.
Marion filed a $2 million lawsuit Wednesday, accusing suburban authorities in Germantown and Collierville of messing up the emergency call and the missing person's report. Officials in both municipalities have declined comment. Marion said the police departments involved did not take enough responsibility.
"It's like they were just passing the ball from court to court," Marion said of the agencies.
The slender, athletic Wright played for the Memphis Grizzlies and four other NBA teams as a forward and center over 13 seasons before retiring in 2009. He also played high school and college ball in Memphis, where he was a fan favorite thanks to his charity work with youth and his father's involvement as a coach in summer leagues.
His death was immediately met with grief and calls for justice. Hundreds went to the crime scene off a back road that he often drove. A memorial service and vigil were held in the FedEx Forum arena, attended by NBA players and politicians.
Since then, public interest has waned.
More than a dozen homicide detectives were once entrenched on the case, Armstrong said at a news conference on the one-year anniversary of Wright's disappearance. Now the case has moved into the hands of a new lead detective who Armstrong hopes can bring "fresh eyes" to the case.
Armstrong, who took over as police chief in April, also said he plans to ask city officials to increase the reward.
Wright, a father of six, was last seen on July 18, 2011, as he left the home of his ex-wife, Sherra Wright. According to an affidavit, Sherra Wright told police she saw him leave her home carrying money and a box of drugs.
Before he left, Sherra Wright said she overheard her ex-husband on the telephone telling someone that he was going to "flip something for $110,000," the document said.
Sherra Wright said Lorenzen Wright left her home in a car with a person she could not identify. The affidavit said Sherra Wright gave the statements to police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, where she lives, on July 27 — nine days after he left her house for the last time.
In the early morning of July 19, a police dispatcher in the suburb of Germantown received a call from Wright's cell phone. Dispatchers acknowledged they heard noises like gunshots before the call was dropped.
Dispatchers said they didn't alert patrol officers or commanders because they couldn't confirm it came from their jurisdiction. They didn't send a patrol officer or relay the information to Memphis police until days later.
Wright's mother filed a missing person report with Collierville police on July 22. Authorities in Collierville were accused of dragging their feet in the days after the report was filed, and an apparent lack of communication kept authorities from linking the 911 call to the missing person report.
Police found Wright's body July 28. An autopsy report showed bullet fragments were lodged in Wright's skull, chest and right forearm, indicating five shots. Police said they recovered shell casings of different calibers with Wright's body, indicating the possibility of two shooters.
The corpse was badly decomposed, weighing 57 pounds. The 6-foot-11 Wright's playing weight was around 225 pounds.
Wright's ex-wife and a half-dozen other people were called before a Shelby County grand jury, but officials have said those appearances produced no substantial leads.
Wright also had a distant connection to drug kingpin Craig Petties, who has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy and racketeering in four murders for hire.
Court documents show Wright acknowledged to the FBI in 2008 that he sold a Mercedes sedan and a Cadillac SUV to Bobby Cole, known by authorities to be part of the Petties gang. The affidavits about the business deal don't show if Wright knew Cole well or was aware he had been indicted on drug distribution charges in 2007.
As part of that drug case, Cole offered in 2008 to forfeit the vehicles to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicles still were registered to Wright, who claimed in court that he didn't know they had been used in crime. The judge ruled in favor of the DEA in March 2010, and the vehicles were forfeited.
Marion told The Associated Press she would like to hire a private investigator to look into her son's slaying but cannot afford it. She said Armstrong, who is now police chief, recently spoke with her but didn't seem to know anything about the case.
"He said he hadn't been briefed on that case at all," she said.
She said she has turned to counseling and her pastor to cope with her son's death. Herb Wright, Lorenzen Wright's father, continues to coach basketball, "doing exactly what he knew Lorenzen wanted, which is to keep his boys in basketball," she said.
Wright had a house in Atlanta and spent time there, but his mother said she is certain the killer or killers are in Memphis and had a "vendetta" against her son: "They were just stone-cold killers."
Lorenzen has 6 kids? What's up with these black guys having a bunch of kids? Do they think that shit is cool? They must think it's cool because they keep having kids and ain't got no money to take care of them. Blacks are the only ones who keep having a bunch of kids and it's usually the poor dumb ass ones who do it. I wouldn't be surprised if Lorenzen's killer isn't caught. The police aren't trying to catch killers who kill blacks because they know blacks like killing each other hahahahahahahahaha.
LOL. You know i'm telling the truth. The police aren't gonna find his killer because that's not important to them. They know blacks like killing each other and you know white cops don't give a damn about blacks dying. That's why 2Pac and Notorious Big's killers will never be caught. I think Jam Master Jay's killer was finally caught. Big L and Freaky Tah of Lost Boys killers i'm sure haven't been caught. Ignorant black men are crazy and have a serious problem. I don't understand why they kill each other but they continue to do it and they can't blame white people no more for why they kill each other. White people are laughing at their dumb asses for killing each other because whites no longer have to kill blacks like they did back in the day. That's why white people are smarter than blacks because they know all they gotta do is give black men guns and drugs and they will kill each other hahahahahahahahahahaha. Ku Klux Klan no longer have to kill blacks because blacks are getting rid of each other LOL. Like Ceelo of Goodie Mob said on Goodie Mob's The Experience song, so many black men out here trying to be niggas LOL. Keeping it real to the point that they dying to be niggas LOL.
-Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife(who probably had him killed) spent most of his $1 million life insurance in ten months.
When money rolls in, tragedy soon follows.
Over the course of his NBA career, Lorenzen Wright earned an estimated $55.2 million in salary. He died in 2010, shot to death, his body left to decompose in the woods southeast of Memphis.
But the battle over what remains of his estate continues. Sherra Robinson Wright, whose divorce from Wright was finalized only a few months before his death, received a $1 million life insurance settlement 14 months after his passing. And according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, it took her only 10 months to spend $973,000 of that.
Spending, as documented by the Commercial Appeal, included:
• $32,000 for a Cadillac Escalade
• $26,000 for a Lexus
• $69,000 on furniture
• $11,750 for a New York trip
• $339,000 for purchase and improvement to a new home
• $7,100 for a pool deposit
• $5,000 for lawn equipment
• $34,000 on legal fees
At issue, other family members contend, is that the proceeds were designated to support the couple's six children. The spending report, filed in September but only just now disclosed publicly, caused a judge to begin investigation of the living conditions of Wright's children. The judge also routed other money, the NBA's $184,000 in death benefits, to Lorenzen Wright's father Herb to benefit the children. Those assets are, at present, frozen.
However, Sherra Wright says the family remains financially sound, with $1.4 million in "assets on hand." Much of that is tied up in the new house and three Arkansas investment properties.
There is also significant discord, according to the court filings, between Herb Wright and Sherra Wright, who "testified Lorenzen Wright distrusted his father and as a result removed his father from any control over his accounts and finances."
At the time of his death, Wright was operating under a child support order requiring him to pay $16,650 a month in child support and another $10,000 a month in alimony, for a total of $319,000 a year. That plan was concocted in 2009, in what would be the last year of Wright's NBA career. There was no amended plan filed after Wright left the NBA and his income dramatically declined.
It's tough to overstate the tragedy of Wright's fall. After Anfernee Hardaway, he was easily the most celebrated player in the basketball-rich city of Memphis. Like Hardaway, he was a high school legend turned Memphis Tiger, and like Hardaway he led the Tigers to the NCAA tournament and later became a lottery pick. He was never able to make a significant impact in the pros, though with $55 million in career earnings, "significant" is by definition a relative term. He deserved better than his tragic end, and the fact that acrimony from his passing continues to tear his family apart is an ongoing shame.
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