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Man charged with aggravated murder in Sherry Black's death

Posted at 12:20 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 20:05:21-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Two weeks after being arrested, a 29-year-old Orem man was formally charged Monday with aggravated murder in the 2010 cold-case killing of Sherry Black.

Frustrated investigators say they exhausted every lead in the years after Black was found murdered in her South Salt Lake bookstore on Nov. 30, 2010. They say DNA and genealogy websites allowed them to arrest and formally charge Adam Durborow.

“That was a critical lead that was given to detectives. It is good, old-fashioned hard work,” said Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill in a news conference.

Black had been stabbed at least 20 times inside B&W Billiards & Books. The suspect left behind DNA on Black, as well finger and palm prints.

Durborow was taken into custody on October 10 and confessed to the homicide after being read his Miranda rights, police said.

“Countless hours of following leads that would lead nowhere. Frustration knowing that every investigative step was taken in the beginning to identify this individual. As time progressed on, that individual became a ghost,” said South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth.

In 2010, the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services developed a DNA profile of the suspect from what was left the scene.

In 2016, DNA tech company Paragon NanoLabs performed snapshot DNA phenotyping.

Chief Carruth says that information was then uploaded to several genealogy websites, including Ancestory.com, which helped them focus in on Durborow.

In 2020, investigators say they secretly collected DNA Durborow left in a public place. After testing, they say Durborow’s DNA matched the DNA left on Black.

“They relied on available lawful means that were available to them to continue to gather and corroborate and supplement the evidence chain so we could identify sufficient probable cause to act upon it,” said Gill.

A statement from the Heidi and Greg Miller Family (Black’s daughter and son-in-law, states:

“We are grateful to the South Salt Lake Police Department, the Unified Police Department and Detective Ben Pender, and the Utah State Crime Lab and Jay Henry, for their ongoing investigative work and diligence that led to an arrest and charges in the murder of Sherry Black. We also appreciate the media for covering this case over the last 10 years, which allowed the public to share tips and new information. We especially want to thank our family and the community for their love, support and prayers.

“We are grateful to the South Salt Lake Police Department, the Unified Police Department and Detective Ben Pender, and the Utah State Crime Lab and Jay Henry, for their ongoing investigative work and diligence that led to an arrest and charges in the murder of Sherry Black. We also appreciate the media for covering this case over the last 10 years, which allowed the public to share tips and new information. We especially want to thank our family and the community for their love, support and prayers.

“While this 10-year period has been difficult, we have been able to feel peace and comfort knowing other cases are being solved with the use of new forensic tools.

“We will continue to work through the Sherry Black Foundation using industry experts to educate law enforcement officers on the most current investigative techniques, and also support advanced DNA testing, to help bring resolution to victims’ families.

“As a family, we are now asking for time and privacy.”

Charging documents show Durborow admitted to killing Black but did not offer a motive. He’s being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

Gill says prosecutors will consider the death penalty, after the preliminary hearing.