Motives, suspect in South Salt Lake fatal stabbing still elusive

Published: Thursday, Dec. 2 2010 11:00 a.m. MST

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Reaction to Tuesday's fatal stabbing of bookseller Sherry Black continues to grow while police are saying little about potential motives or suspects.

The most public acknowledgement of the tragic killing was a planned moment of silence at the beginning of Wednesday night's Utah Jazz home game against the Indiana Pacers in honor of the victim, who is the mother of Larry H. Miller Group CEO Greg Miller's wife, Heidi.

"On behalf of the Black and Miller families, I would like to thank the South Salt Lake Police Department for the professionalism and integrity they have shown during their investigation of this tragic crime that has deeply affected all of us," Miller said in a statement released Wednesday. "In addition, the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community truly is making a difference for us. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers and kindness."

The Utah Jazz are part of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.

Reaction came from within the Jazz organization as well.

"(Our) thoughts and prayers go out to the Miller family," Jazz team captain Deron Williams said Wednesday. "The world we live in is messed up, and things like this shouldn't happen but they do. Everybody should be with their family."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was also solemn while speaking of the tragedy. "It's a terrible thing to have to deal with, I'm sure," Sloan said. "Our hearts go out to the Miller family and Heidi and her family."

Sherry Black's body was first discovered by her husband, Earl, who called 911. The 64-year-old woman was lying on the floor of the business "with an obvious stab wound," said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller.

She and her husband shared the business, B&W Billiards and Books, at 3466 S. 700 East. The business is adjacent to their home.

Keller said police are asking for the community's help on this case. Anyone who was traveling on 700 East near 3466 South between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday that may have seen anything suspicious is asked to call 801-840-4000.

Keller said South Salt Lake police have had help from the Utah Attorney General's Office and the state crime lab.

Black's sister, Debbie Waycasy, said her sister and brother-in-law had been married since high school and had a very loving relationship.

"They had everything before them to live for," she said. "I can't imagine what either of them has been through."

Black's brother, Jim Waycasy, said he is unaware of anyone who would want to kill his sister. He described her as likable and a grandmother who was very involved with her family. He said her business mostly involved book sales online. He never heard her talk about troublesome business or personal relationships.

"She's been selling books for 10 years. She would visit every (Deseret Industries) every morning, buy books for a quarter and sell them on Amazon.com." He said Black and her husband had to add on to their house when her collection of books outgrew the space they had.

Black's online sales at B&W Collector Books on Amazon.com includes a listing of hundreds of books. Many are of interest to an LDS audience but the overall collection includes a broad range of topics. One standout is a hardback copy of "The Grapes of Wrath" listed for $2,750. A few books approach the $300 mark but most are well under $100.

Salt Lake bookseller Ken Sanders, who has been in the rare book business for more than 30 years, knew Black professionally. He said she was "industrious" and would work hard to locate rare finds, but he couldn't believe she would have been killed over a book.

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