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Love, Betrayal and a Cryptic 911 Call: the Murder of NBA Star Lorenzen Wright

Christine Pelisek
Love, Betrayal and a Cryptic 911 Call: the Murder of NBA Star Lorenzen Wright

The 911 call came in just after midnight on July 19, 2010, to Germantown, Tennessee police. On the tape, the 911 operator could hear an unidentified man yelling “Hey, goddamn,” as the sounds of gunfire erupted in the background.

Days later, police discovered the distressed caller was 34-year-old former NBA player Lorenzen Wright. His decomposing remains were found in a Memphis field. He had been shot 11 times.

Thousands of mourners showed up at his memorial service at FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis, where he had once played for the Memphis Grizzlies. Among the mourners was Wright’s ex-wife Sherra, whom he had met when he was 16 and she was 21. They later had six children together.

“Sherra was there at the funeral and gave me a hug, and thanked me for doing such a nice eulogy,” Wright’s friend, pastor Bill Adkins, tells PEOPLE.

Sherra Wright | Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian

The brutal crime shook the city, and the investigation into Wright’s killing is the subject of a new episode of People Magazine Investigates, airing Monday, Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery. (An exclusive clip is above.)

“When Lorenzen was murdered, the city was in shock, absolutely shocked, because first of all no one ever thought something like this would happen and to one of our heroes,” says Adkins.

Wright was last seen at his ex-wife’s house on July 18, 2010, after spending part of the day with his close friend Phil Dotson. They later picked up Wright’s son and Dotson dropped them off at Sherra’s home in a Memphis suburb around 10 p.m.

“I drove off and I never heard from him again,” says Dotson.

Family and friends started to worry when days passed and Wright didn’t return their phone calls.

His mother filed a missing person’s report on July 22.

For more on the disturbing slaying of NBA star Lorenzen Wright, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

Sherra told police she last saw her ex-husband — who she had divorced that year — around 2 a.m. on July 19 when he left her home with an unknown person. She later alleged that the former power forward was involved in criminal activity and had left her home at 11:30 p.m. with a box of drugs and cash.

the crime scene | The Commercial Appeal/Zuma

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In December 2017, police arrested Sherra, along with her friend Billy Turner, and charged them with Wright’s murder.

Their arrest came after a gun that was allegedly used to shoot Wright was found in a Walnut, Mississippi, lake. Authorities also discovered that Sherra was the trustee of Wright’s $1 million life insurance policy.

“I can’t say I was completely surprised,” says Dotson. “I think she is a calculating, heartless person.”

For more on how the story ended for Sherra and her co-conspirator, tune in to People Magazine Investigates: Memphis Blues, airing Monday, Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.