Authorities have arrested Adam Durborrow in the cold-case killing of Sherry Black

By Steve Helling
October 13, 2020 05:53 PM
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Authorities have identified a suspect in a decade-old killing, perhaps solving one of Utah's most high-profile cold cases.

PEOPLE confirms that police arrested Adam Antonio Spencer Durborrow, 29, on Saturday and charged him with aggravated murder and aggravated burglary.

Durborrow was just 19 on the morning of November 30, 2010, when Sherry Black was attending to post-Thanksgiving shoppers at the bookstore she owned, B&W Billiards and Books in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But the day took a tragic turn sometime before noon, when someone bludgeoned and stabbed Black to death. Her body was found in the back of the store, behind stacks of books.

The violent killing devastated Black’s family, who mourned the loss of the loving mother and grandmother who greeted all her customers with a smile.

But devastation turned to frustration as investigators were unable to solve the mystery of who killed Black. There had been no forced entry. Nothing in the store was taken. She was still wearing diamond jewelry. She seemingly had no enemies.

Authorities processed the crime scene, taking fingerprints and collecting DNA.

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Adam Durborrow
Salt Lake County Jail

In 2017, police put the DNA through a phenotyping process that would use genetic codes to predict the suspect's physical appearance. Based on the phenotyping, authorities said there was a 97.8% likelihood the man had light brown skin, a 55.2% likelihood he had brown or black eyes, and 99.6% likelihood he had black hair.

But despite law enforcement’s efforts, they were unable to match the evidence to a suspect.

Until this month.

Authorities have not disclosed what, exactly led them to Durborrow -- but they acknowledge that new advances in DNA technology have led them to believe that he is the man they have been looking for. PEOPLE confirms that Durborrow has been arrested at least twice before on minor crimes.

In a statement to KUTV, the Unified Police Department (UPD) says that they worked with the South Salt Lake Police Department to "review the evidence, find new leads, and interview witnesses."

"The diligent work of the detectives from both agencies over the last ten years has resulted in today’s arrest," the UPD wrote. "Solving cold cases like this one is possible, in part, due to technological advancements."

Durborrow is being held without bond, and has not yet entered a plea. Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.