It’s been a little over a year since the murder of former NBA player Lorenza Wright, however his death still remains an unsolved mystery.
Wright played in the NBA for 13 years, declaring for the draft after playing high school and college basketball in Memphis. He was featured in a total of 5 NBA teams over the course of his career, including his home town team, the Memphis Grizzlies. He retired and settled down in Memphis in 2009.
On July 28, 2010, Police found Wright’s body in a field in Memphis. An autopsy report showed bullet fragments 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.
However what is almost a chilling as his cold blooded murder, are the numerous misfires by law enforcement surrounding this case, which has drawn a lot of criticism towards the Memphis area police from the family and fans of the former player.
On July 18, 2010, Wright, a father of six, was last seen, 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.
On July 19, 2010, a 911 call was made from the deceased player’s cell phone in which gunshots were heard.
On July 22, 2010 Deborah Marion, Wright’s mother, filed a missing person report with Collierville police.
On July 28, 2010, ten days later from when he was last seen, Lorenzen Wright’s body was found in a decomposed condition in a swampy field. The player had been shot dead and his body left to rot.
When the murder became public, it caused outrage among the Memphis and NBA communities. Hundreds visited the murder site. Even more, including NBA players and local politicians, attended the memorial service held at the FedEx Forum arena. At the time, the police declared that they would expend all resources to hunt down whoever was responsible for the crime.
However a year later…nothing has been solved and no arrests have been made.
The Missing Report was filed. A 9-1-1 phone call was placed from his cell phone, where gun shots were heard. So why did Memphis police director Toney Armstrong say just last week, “We are a long way from solving this crime”?
Well…an investigation which began with a number of disorganized missteps on the part of investigating officials is in large part to blame.
When the 9-1-1 call was placed, authorities took no action, not even dispatching a patrolling party, blaming confusion over jurisdiction as the reason for the miscommunication. In addition, authorities in Collierville have been accused of dragging their feet in the days after the report was filed, and again, an apparent lack of communication kept authorities from linking the 9-1-1 call to the missing person report.
Shockingly, investigators have determined that the call that was placed to 9-1-1 from Wright’s cell phone, came from the same area his body was found.
The player’s mother Deborah Marion has repeatedly called on the police and other authorities to do more in their efforts to solve the case. Marion, is determined to renew pressure on the police to solve this crime.She recently filed a $2 million lawsuit against Germantown and Collierville for botching up the initial 911 call and missing person report.
Memphis Crime Stoppers Executive Director Buddy Chapman said their hotline has only received two dozen tips, the last of them in May. Chapman said that is unusual for such a high profile case. Chapman said one reason there may be such silence surrounding the case is that the reward is only $6,000.
Deborah remains determined to find out who was responsible for her son’s death, working tirelessly to maintain public awareness in order to bring her son’s murderer(s) to justice.
“I will never lose hope until I’m dead and buried.” Marion said.