SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The suspect in the 2010 cold-case murder of South Salt Lake bookstore owner Sherry Black has been formally charged with aggravated murder, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill said in a news conference Monday.
Detectives arrested 29-year-old Adam Antonio Spencer Durborow in Utah County on Oct. 10 of this year. Gill said in the news conference a criminal case against Durborow was filed Monday morning. The suspect has been charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony.
The 64-year-old Black was found beaten to death inside B&W Billiards and Books, her South Salt Lake business, on Nov. 30, 2010.
Durborow’s probable cause statement says: “When officers arrived, they found Sherry Black, inside of her bookstore deceased. The scene was processed, DNA, fingerprints and palm prints of a suspect were collected from the scene.”
“On Oct. 7, 2020, DNA was collected from Adam Antonio Spencer Durborow. This was submitted to the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services on Oct. 7, 2020. On Oct. 8, 2020, I was informed the DNA was a match to DNA collected from the scene.
“On Oct. 10, 2020, Adam Antonio Spencer Durborow was taken into custody. Post Miranda, Adam Antonio Spencer Durborow confessed to the homicide.”
Gill said Dr. Todd Gray, then the Utah Chief Medical Examiner, performed an autopsy on Black and has opined that the cause of death was “multiple sharp force and blunt force injuries and that the manner of death was homicide.”
The autopsy also revealed “several disfiguring perimortem injuries of a sexual nature,” Gill said, including bite marks and bruising. Perimortem means near or at the time of death. A motive for the murder has not been established, Gill said.
In 2010, the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services was able to develop a DNA profile belonging to a then-unknown male, Gill said.
In December 2016, Unified Police Department, whose Cold Case Unit joined the investigation in 2013, began working with Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA technology company that produced a “DNA snapshot” of the suspect. From this, a familial history of the perpetrator was identified. For more on the “DNA Snapshot” click here. Detectives then “methodically investigated” that history and identified the suspect in the case.
Detectives were then able to “surreptitiously” obtain a sample of Durborow’s DNA in a lawful manner, Gill said, to compare it with the DNA left at the scene. It was subsequently confirmed that the DNA from Durborow matched the DNA at the scene, as well as on Black’s body.
Durborow is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Gill said it would be premature to say whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty in this case.
He is being held without bail.
Gephardt Daily will have more information as details are released.