Family seeks help in slaying of Jazz exec’s in-law
One year after the death of Utah Jazz executive Greg Miller’s
mother-in-law, her family still struggles to explain her unsolved
murder but finds comfort in surrounding themselves with the books
she loved so much.
Sherry Black, 64, was found stabbed to death inside her South
Salt Lake book shop Nov. 30, 2010. A year later, police still have
no suspects and no apparent motive for the murder.
”It’s hard to come here and know what when on,” Black’s
daughter, Heidi Miller, said of her mother’s B&W Billiards and
”At the same time, we know that she touched every one of these
books. It was something she loved,” Miller said. ”As hard as the
memories are – you know, the bad things that happened here – it’s a
bookstore filled with love.”
Black’s family plans to mark the anniversary of her death with a
public graveside memorial service Wednesday at Wasatch Lawn
Memorial Park in Salt Lake City.
The family reopened her bookstore Monday for a news conference
aimed at publicizing the unsolved case. They hope to have the
business running again on a limited basis by the start of the new
South Salt Lake police have been tight-lipped about details of
their evidence in the case, but have said DNA testing on blood
found at the scene indicates a male suspect was possibly injured
during the incident. Investigators have run the sample through
various criminal databases but have found no DNA match, said Gary
Keller, executive officer for the department.
Investigators also found a black men’s Armani Exchange-brand
belt in the bookstore and believe it might link them to the person
or persons responsible. The belt does not belong to anyone in
Black’s family, police have said.
”We need that one piece of information that is going to pull
all the pieces of the puzzle together,” Keller said. ”We don’t
have a motive. It’s a mystery, but we want to bring the family
On Monday, Earl Black declined to discuss the details of the day
he found his wife of 45 years dead in the store.
”It’s not something I want to get into,” he said politely,
pursing his lips. ”It was a hard day.”
Asked if he has any theories about what happened to his wife,
Earl Black shakes his head and shrugs.
”We’re still searching for the answer. Till we find the guy, we
won’t know why or what made him do it,” he said. ”It’s just one
big question. Who would do something so horrible?”
Books were Sherry Black’s first love and – besides raising her
family – her life’s work, family members said. Sherry and Earl
Black opened the business, which is adjacent to their home, as a
billiard and bowling supply store in about 1975, but the books took
over in the late 1980s.
”She pushed me out, so basically, I turned it over to her and
helped her where I could,” Earl Black said. ”She’d get up in the
morning and come out here in her pajamas and get on the computer.
… She would spend all day here.”
Along with the rows and rows of bookshelves, Sherry Black’s
store has wooden walls adorned with animal trophy heads, family
photos and treasures like bottles of buttons, which she loved to
collect. Heidi Miller said the inventory today tops 100,000 volumes
from all genres, including Mormon history and scripture, classic
literature and children’s books, which were Sherry Black’s
Police and Sherry Black’s family say it doesn’t appear anything
was taken from the store, although it’s difficult to be sure
because Sherry Black kept the inventory data in her head, not on a
computer. Earl Black said no cash was taken from the store’s
register and the store did not appear to have been ransacked.
Sherry Black’s family has offered a $50,000 reward for
information leading to an arrest and conviction.
They’ve also set up a website to take tips. And they’ve posted
billboards with Sherry Black’s picture around the Salt Lake Valley,
each asking the same question: ”Do you know my killer?” In the
photograph, a smiling Sherry Black has her fists up as if she’s
preparing to throw a punch.
”We need to find the person that did this. He’s out there
endangering other people,” said Miller. ”What he did was a
horrible crime, and he needs to be caught before he can do this to
Jennifer Dobner can be reached at