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Mother-in-law of Jazz owner Greg Miller killed in South Salt Lake stabbing

Published: Thursday, Dec. 2 2010 2:00 p.m. MST

An investigator walks through the crime scene tape where a 64-year-old woman was found stabbed to death inside the business  B & W Billiards and Books  on 3466 S. 700 East Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in South Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) An investigator walks through the crime scene tape where a 64-year-old woman was found stabbed to death inside the business B & W Billiards and Books on 3466 S. 700 East Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in South Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The mother-in-law of Utah Jazz owner Greg Miller was found dead Tuesday with "obvious" stab wounds.

Sherry Black, 64, was killed at a business owned by her and her husband, B and W Billiards and Book at 3466 S. 700 East. She was found by her husband at 1:43 p.m.

"Today, our family suffered an unimaginable loss," Miller said in a statement. "My mother-in-law, Sherry Black, was taken from us in a senseless act of violence. My wife, Heidi, and I ask that you please keep our father, Earl, as well as the entire Black family in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time."

Miller, who is also CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, said detectives are "diligently working to determine what took place."

Facebook photo of Greg Miller with in-laws, the Blacks. (Family Photo) Facebook photo of Greg Miller with in-laws, the Blacks. (Family Photo)

Miller was at the scene Tuesday comforting his emotional wife.

Police have released few details about the slaying.

"The husband discovered her. It's a residence with a business next door, and he walked into the business and discovered her body," said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller.

Authorities are carefully reviewing the crime scene, and the investigation is in the beginning stages, he said. As of Tuesday night, police hadn't determined a motive for the slaying.

"At this time, we don't have a suspect," Keller said.

It was not immediately known whether the business was open or if anyone else was present.

Keller said investigators were going to work through the night at the crime scene. He said forensic evidence is going to be crucial and authorities are going to pore over all evidence.

A 64-year-old woman was found stabbed to death inside the business  B & W Billiards and Books  on 3466 S. 700 East Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in South Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) A 64-year-old woman was found stabbed to death inside the business B & W Billiards and Books on 3466 S. 700 East Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in South Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"They're going to move cautiously through that and collect all the forensic evidence that they can," he said. "Right now time is on our side with the investigation. So we want to proceed cautiously and make sure we cover everything."

Neighbor Mary Wade described Sherry Black as quiet and a book lover, and she wonders why anyone would want to harm her.

"Their house is always quiet," she said. "They seemed to be liked by everybody."

Wade says she recently told Earl Black he was the best neighbor a person could ask for.

Black belonged to the Riviera Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bishop Joshua Smith described Sherry Black as a great individual.

Greg Miller hugs his wife, Heidi, outside the store where his mother-in-law, Sherry Black, was found stabbed to death. (KSL-TV) Greg Miller hugs his wife, Heidi, outside the store where his mother-in-law, Sherry Black, was found stabbed to death. (KSL-TV)

"She was a wonderful person," Smith said. "I can't think of a single person who walked into their store and didn't walk away a better person."

Smith said the Blacks' shop carried rare books, LDS-themed books as well as pool tables, custom knives and other items.

Contributing: Pat Reavy

e-mail: mfarmer@desnews.com

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