Adam Durborow

Adam Antonio Spencer Durborow was arrested on October 10, 2020 and charged with the 2011 murder of 64-year-old Sherry Black in Salt Lake City, Utah. Black had been working in her bookstore, B&W Billiard and Books on November 30, 2011, when she was robbed and murdered by an intruder.

Durborow is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and desecration of a human body, as there appears to have been a violent post-mortem sexual assault.

A small amount of blood was collected at the scene and developed into a DNA profile of the suspect. There were no hits in CODIS. Familial searching of Utah DNA databases also turned up no hits.

The FGG investigation in this case was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs, who had analyzed the DNA and produced a phenotypic profile of the suspect in 2017. Ancestry analysis at that time indicated that the suspect had about 46% West African heritage, and about 1/3 northern European heritage. Police used surveillance followed by surreptitious sampling to make the initial confirmation of the results of the FGG investigation.

Durborow was convicted of attempted rape and aggravated assault in May of 2006 when he was 14 years old. He spent time in juvenile detention for this offence, for which he was also ordered to provide a DNA sample, but it is unknown if this took place.

Durborow had a very difficult upbringing. His adoptive father had served time in federal prison for child sexual offences and a large child pornography operation, which he ran out of a studio in the home where he lived with Durborow and his siblings. Law enforcement authorities report that Durborow confessed to committing the crime during police interviews.

Durborow pled guilty to aggravated murder in the Salt Lake 3rd District Court on Monday October 4, 2021. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on February 23, 2022.


Bittan, Ryan. “Sherry Black’s Murderer, Rapist Sentenced to Life in Prison with no Parole.” ABC News 4, February 23, 2022. Accessed March 5, 2022.

Cawley, Dave, KSL Newsradio, and Keira Farrimond. “KSL Uncovers Disturbing Details Surrounding Cold Case Murder Suspect’s Childhood.” KSL TV News, October 13, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Knox, Annie. “Murder Charge Filed in Decade-Old Killing of Bookstore Owner Sherry Black.” Desert News, October 26, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Ortiz, Marcos. “The Justice Files: Unsealed Search Warrants Offer New Insight in Sherry Black Murder Investigation.” ABC News 4, July 21, 2021. Accessed July 22, 2021.

Reavy, Pat. “Man Arrested in Sherry Black Killing Has Quiet Rap Sheet, but Outspoken Social Media Posts.” Desert News, October 12, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Reavy, Pat. “Orem Man Admits Murdering Bookstore Owner Sherry Black in 2010.” Desert News, October 4, 2021. Accessed October 5, 2021.

Reavy, Pat. “Police Hope Phenotyping Will Crack Sherry Black Murder Case.” Desert News, November 30, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Weaver, Jennifer. “Salt Lake County DA Details Arrest of Man Charged with Sherry Black’s Murder.” KUTV 2 News, October 26, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.


First Name Adam
Last Name Durborow
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2020-10-10
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1417 Sherry Black 64 2010-11-30 Salt Lake City, UT South Salt Lake PD; Unified PD First degree murder Guilty plea entered by defendant Salt Lake DIST CT

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.