How was Sherry Black's murder solved after a decade? Details explored ahead of On the Case With Paula Zahn

Sherry Black [left] and her killer Adam Durborow [right] (Image via The Deck Podcast/YouTube, Twitter/@GarnaMejiaKSL)
Sherry Black [left] and her killer Adam Durborow [right] (Image via The Deck Podcast/YouTube, Twitter/@GarnaMejiaKSL)

A decade after 64-year-old Sherry Black was found murdered inside a South Salt Lake City bookstore she owned, investigators arrested the killer using DNA evidence. The suspect, Adam Durborow, was arrested in October 2020 after his DNA sample matched the one collected from the crime scene.

Sherry was beaten and stabbed to death in November 2010. The alleged murder weapon, a pair of bloody scissors, was found near the body at the crime scene, along with an Armani belt, blood of an unknown male, a partial fingerprint, and a palm print, left behind by the killer. The DNA sample initially failed to produce results until the case was cracked open 10 years later.

Adam Durborow pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in October 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last February.

An upcoming episode of On the Case With Paula Zahn will further look into Sherry Black's gruesome murder this Wednesday, July 26. The episode titled Love Lost, Justice Found, is scheduled to air on ID at 10:00 pm ET.

The official synopsis of the episode reads:

"Will the chilling evidence found inside a quaint Utah bookstore bring the killer of its beloved owner to justice?"

Sherry Black was stabbed at least 15 times in the head, neck, and torso

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Adam Durborow was arrested in October 2020, nearly a decade after he murdered Sherry Black inside a used and rare bookstore called B&W Billiards & Books, which she owned in South Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sherry was found beaten and stabbed to death with a pair of scissors on November 30, 2010. The discovery was made by her husband Earl Black.

A subsequent autopsy confirmed that the victim was stabbed at least 15 times in the head, neck, and torso and that she had been s*xually assaulted.

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Authorities found no signs of a break-in but believed that the 64-year-old did not know her killer. Moreover, nothing was stolen from the store. All the cash remained in the register and rare books worth thousands of dollars were scattered inside the store.

Evidence collected from the crime scene included the alleged murder weapon, a pair of scissors, an Armani belt, significant amounts of blood, possibly belonging to the injured killer, a palm print on a door frame, and a partial fingerprint on one of the shelves, as per CBS.

According to KSL TV, Durborow was 19 years old when he committed the crime and had been convicted of theft in the past. The teenager was in juvenile detention not long before Sherry's murder.


Adam Durborow admitted that he murdered Sherry Black because he was angry

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The DNA evidence and fingerprint initially proved to be inconsequential to the case when it was uploaded to CODIS and failed to produce results. Detectives later addressed this issue and suggested that although Adam Durborow had a prior criminal history, his details were not made public because he was a juvenile.

According to KSL TV, the South Salt Lake Police Department's investigation into Sherry Black's murder went cold after a while. The Cold Case Unit then joined the probe in 2013 and the case once again gained momentum in 2018.

Investigators, with the assistance of Parabon NanoLabs, used phenotyping and Investigative Genetic Genealogy and ultimately linked Durborow to the case when his DNA matched the sample collected from the crime scene. He was then arrested on October 10, 2020, and charged with aggravated murder.

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According to The Cinemaholic, after his arrest, Durborow, 29, claimed that there was no particular motive behind murdering Sherry Black. He admitted that he was angry and murdered the bookstore owner on the spur of the moment.

In October 2021, Adam Durborow pleaded guilty to the charge against him and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2022.


Sherry Black's murder case will air on ID's On the Case With Paula Zahn this Wednesday.

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Edited by Adelle Fernandes