DNA helps ID killer 28 years after WA teen’s homicide

Sarah Yarborough became a 16-one year-feeble honors pupil on her formula to drill crew observe, when she became found murdered on the campus of her high college. Investigators had DNA evidence and eyewitnesses, but it will rob nearly three a protracted time to establish Sarah’s killer. As “forty eight Hours” contributor Natalie Morales experiences, this case had a mammoth impact on her family, chums and generations of investigators.


Natalie Morales: How regularly invent you mediate about Dec. 14th, 1991, and what came about on that day? 

Drew Miller: Rather quite a bit. It be a truly stressful thing to plow via. 

It be been over 30 years, but the particulars of that day personal never feeble for Drew Miller. 

Drew Miller: I had my pal employ the night at my home. We aroused from sleep that morning … watched cartoons, ate cereal, left to head skateboarding.

Eyewitness finds a high college pupil’s body and sees her suspected killer by
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Miller, who became real 13 on the time, lived down the twin carriageway from Federal Method High College reach Seattle, Washington.

Natalie Morales: The college grounds personal changed rather quite a bit, real?

Drew Miller: Enormously, certain … The tennis court is one of the best thing that’s silent right here.

Miller regularly took shortcuts via the college to head skateboarding, as he and his pal did that day.

Drew Miller (outside Federal Method High College): We at possibility of hop the fence, real right here … and within the slash price of via right here (pointing ) … It became freezing cold that day. There became ice within the final mud puddles. We real, you know, started smashing them because it be enjoyable … sounds adore breaking glass. 

That’s when Miller says they noticed a person within the bushes.

Drew Miller: Factual where you search the brink of this dugout real right here (ingredients) … That became all bushes that were presumably this massive (positioning his hand reach his shoulders). So, we would perhaps no longer search him except he stood up.

Drew Miller: He’s real staring at us from the bushes. That became quite jarring. However then he real walked out of the bushes. So, then we real assumed he became real smoking weed or something.

The mysterious man stored to himself and walked forward of the boys. Miller says they didn’t judge great of it except they figured out a horrendous scene. There within the bushes, where the man had real been, became the body of a younger girl.

Drew Miller: It became defective. Fully defective. The vogue that he left her body. … She clearly fought for her lifestyles. 

Miller says his shock turned to dread when he realized the man, who became silent real feet in front of them, became now staring straight abet at him. 

Natalie Morales: Does that survey silent dangle-out you?

Drew Miller: Oh yeah. Yeah …  It be frozen in my mind. 

Natalie Morales: The boogeyman then. 

Drew Miller: Official boogeyman.

The boys raced to Miller’s home and police were known as to the scene.

Scott Strathy: As soon as we approached the sufferer … on certainly one of many items of garments we saw the establish “Sarah.”

Sarah Yarborough crime scene
Sarah Yarborough’s body became found about 300 feet a ways from her automobile on the college property. She became partly dressed, and a pile of her clothes lay within the grass nearby.  “We actually had a monster within the neighborhood and we real didn’t know who it became,” talked about Scott Strathy, who became certainly one of many foremost officers on the scene.

King County Superior Courtroom

Detective Scott Strathy with the King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise became certainly one of many foremost officers on the scene.

Scott Strathy: And naturally, later we figured out that that became Sarah Yarborough.

Scott Strathy: Even for an authority investigators, this scene became in actual fact appealing to handle. Honest the harmless nature of this younger girl. In her college drill crew uniform. Along with her hot curlers silent in her hair. … This became real pure unadulterated execrable. 

Investigators believed this became a sexually motivated homicide.

Scott Strathy: She became partly clothed, her jacket, her undergarments, her bra had been eliminated … and placed next to her body.

Police found that the automobile Sarah had driven that morning became parked within the college automobile car parking space – about 300 feet from where her body became found. 

Det. John Free: There didn’t in actual fact seem like any form of a battle within the automobile itself.

Detective John Free with the King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise Main Crimes Unit would later join the investigation. 

Det. John Free: She had a container of orange juice that she had made that morning. It became real sitting within the front seat. Nothing became tipped over. So the request became, how did she accept from her automobile to this hill? What lead her there? 

Scott Strathy: Sarah became certainly this form of folk that would reduction any individual with anything else at any time. And a part of our working notion became, became she coaxed into following, you know, the suspect. Did he direct something adore – I am taking a survey for my lost dog or I will’t win my automobile keys? Presumably Sarah, in an strive to motivate this person, will also personal followed him to that home.

Sarah Yarborough
Sarah Yarborough in her drill crew uniform.

Laura Yarborough

Natalie Morales: (pointing to report of Sarah in her drill crew uniform): Notify me about this one.

Laura Yarborough: That became no longer as a lot as every week, I judge, earlier than she died. I talked about, “will also I rob your report because your Broad Grandma in actual fact needs an image of you on your drill crew.” And he or she talked about, “OK.”

Laura Yarborough: It became real too amazing to mediate that it’s going to also even occur.

Laura Yarborough: I imply who thinks that your daughter’s gonna be murdered? 

Sarah’s folk, Tom and Laura Yarborough, had the excruciating process of attending to yell their two sons the tragic records. Sarah’s youngest brother Andrew became real 11 years feeble on the time.

Andrew Yarborough: At that age, presumably never considered or heard your folk cry great. However that worry within the impart, is incredibly, very intellectual.

Sarah, who had real started her junior one year in high college, had mammoth plans for her future — initiating with college.

Laura Yarborough: She didn’t must head to a tell college. She desired to head to a school distant (laughs). She loved to coast.

Liberty Barnes: I in actual fact would hear her direct … “I will’t make a dedication if I wanna be a museum curator or an engineer adore my father.” … And I became regularly rooting for the museum curator (laughs).

Liberty Barnes, Kristi Gutierrez, Amy Parodi and Mary Beth Thome were some of Sarah’s closest chums.

Sarah Yarborough and chums
Sarah Yarborough and chums.

Liberty Barnes

Mary Beth Thome (pointing on the group report considered above): So, this became after the final day of tenth grade. As soon as we were real kinda goofing around afterwards. And that entirely, I imply you have to perchance search, there is Sarah real within the center of it. Honest being goofy.

Natalie Morales: The fiery purple hair, became that her persona rather bit?

“Certain,” Sarah’s chums replied in unison.

Amy Parodi:  She became ingenious, she became ingenious, she became trim. She became feisty …

Liberty Barnes: Imaginative.

Amy Parodi: All of these issues.

Kristi Gutierrez: She’s going to most most likely be the final one to support for any individual. … Always be there with a smile. She would reduction with homework. … It became her remaining kindness. 

After Sarah became ripped from their lives, they are saying their sense of security became long previous forever.

Amy Parodi: You develop up getting the total security conversations along with your folk and corrupt issues can occur and its form of a imprecise chance available. And then impulsively, it became adore no, no, no, no it will in actual fact occur. It in actual fact did real occur.

Scott Strathy: It became all fingers on deck. The Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise place all the pieces that they had into fixing this case as soon as they’re going to also.

And the killer left within the abet of significant evidence. Sarah had no longer been raped, but the killer’s DNA became found on items of her clothes.

Det. John Free: There became semen found on her lingerie and on her jacket. … We had a chubby male DNA profile.

DNA skills became fresh abet in 1991, but investigators hoped that DNA would sooner or later cause them to Sarah’s killer. For the time being, that they had eyewitnesses.

Drew Miller: I believed for certain any individual would know him. 

Sarah Yarborough homicide suspect sketches
Witnesses Drew Miller and his pal who became with him the morning they figured out Sarah’s body, labored with police and a sketch of the man they saw within the bushes became launched to the final public. Police would later liberate a extra define sketch.

King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise

Miller and his pal who became with him the morning they figured out Sarah’s body, labored with police and a sketch of the man they saw within the bushes became launched to the final public. Police would later liberate a extra define sketch.

Kristi Guiterrez:  I very vividly take care of in mind going via yearbooks. Going, “OK, who looks adore the sketch?” All people … it felt adore at one point became, became a suspect.

However as days glided by and as leads dried up, police stored coming abet to Drew and his pal.

Drew Miller: They real made me feel adore I became one of the best person that would also reduction them resolve this. I do know that wasn’t their intent. I do know the officers were real doing their most effective.

Natalie Morales: How great force were you feeling?

Drew Miller: It be unbelievable force.

And despite all people’s most effective efforts, it will rob years to search out Sarah’s killer.

Scott Strathy: This case became never forgotten.


In early June of 1993, a one year-and-a-half of after Sarah Yarborough’s homicide, local media were there as college students gathered within the courtyard of Federal Method High College to honor her. 

KOMO/ABC NEWS REPORT: Bill Fuller, a family pal who helped spearhead the switch for a memorial to take be aware of Sarah unveiled it with reduction from Sarah’s younger brother Andrew.

Bill Fuller: It became rather a day. … Quite a lot of tears as they checked out it. That you just would possibly even search Sarah in that bench.

Bill Fuller has known the Yarboroughs for years, and his daughter became in Sarah’s class. 

Bill Fuller:  Sarah … she became enjoyable to be around … presumably what we overlooked the most is she became enjoyable to be around. 

The bench reads “Carpe Diem” — “Clutch the day” — a mantra Sarah lived by. Encased in bronze are some of her well-liked possessions — ballet shoes, a duplicate of Sarah’s loved dog “Gibby” and books.

KIRO-TV NEWS REPORT (1993): Andrew Yarborough: It be good that folk cared about her so great.

Tom, Laura and Andrew Yarborough
Tom, Laura and Andrew Yarborough

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Andrew Yarborough, now an adult, admits that he struggled as a younger teenager. It became specifically advanced to search these sketches around city of the man police believed murdered his sister.

Andrew Yarborough: There became drawings of the person’s face a ways and broad in companies and cities. I invent recall that rather quite a bit, having that roughly a fixed reminder. 

Tom Yarborough: Attempting abet, I feel adore we didn’t invent a truly proper job with the boys. … However we were real so consumed by our luxuriate in disaster that we didn’t rob time to support them. 

Laura Yarborough: I judge we didn’t in actual fact know be taught the solution to support them. It wasn’t something we had skills with. We didn’t know anything else about grieving ourselves or be taught the solution to support them via it.

And they weren’t on my own of their disaster. Shannon Grant, the final pal to search Sarah alive, says she lived with fixed remorse. 

Shannon Grant: I need we will also scoot abet and invent it a ways and broad again. That I would personal requested the opposite drill crew contributors what time observe became. You admire, presumably dropped her off. I imply there are rather loads of the what ifs. 

The milestones were specifically painful.

Liberty Barnes: There became survivor guilt. Take care of why am I filling out my college capabilities when Sarah desired to head to college? This is no longer refined. 

Mary Beth Thome: Every happy occasion had this sorrow that went with it. There’s one missing from the crowd right here.

Graduation day, June 12, 1993, became an emotional day but even extra so since it fell on what would were Sarah’s 18th birthday. Laura Yarborough came to present a boost to her daughter’s chums. 

Liberty Barnes: I invent no longer know where she found the energy to invent that.

Sarah Yarborough
“She loved that inexperienced costume, real?” “forty eight Hours” contributor Natalie Morales requested Laura Yarborough. “Yeah. She wore inexperienced rather quite a bit. Along with her hair,” Yarborough replied.

Liberty Barnes

Laura Yarborough says Sarah’s chums helped ease her disaster rather and she thinks she stuffed a void for them, as smartly.

Laura Yarborough: Every now and then they’d direct, “Neatly, I am gonna date this person and I real desired to imply you have to perchance know cause I wasn’t certain if Sarah would approve of this person” (laughs).

Natalie Morales: So, they’d quiz approval via you. You turned form of their surrogate.

Laura Yarborough: Certain (laughs). 

As lifestyles slowly moved forward, investigators stored working the case. 

Det. John Free: I describe it as a relay bolt where the baton became handed off from one detective to the following over time and a protracted time. … I roughly focus on to myself as the fifth Beatle on this investigation.

By the early 2000s, investigators had bought over 3,000 leads. And advances in skills made them hopeful. They entered the DNA from the crime scene into the currently established CODIS system – a national DNA database that capabilities profiles of convicted offenders.

Det. John Free: The plan became to repeatedly strive to search if there would ever be a match … whereas additionally investigating leads. 

However over time there perceived to be no match. 

Det. John Free: For us to personal DNA evidence from the suspect, but no longer personal that hyperlink to any individual, it real didn’t blueprint sense. It seemed appealing to mediate the suspect had no longer committed any other prior crimes where his DNA would no longer be within the system.

That’s when he says detectives realized that they needed to head in a certain course. 

Colleen Fitzpatrick: My establish’s Colleen Fitzpatrick and I am certainly one of many pioneers of forensic genetic genealogy. 

In 2011, investigators reached out to Fitzpatrick to ask about using forensic genetic genealogy — the observe of using tool to match unknown DNA profiles to records from public DNA databases and procuring family trees to establish suspects. Genetic genealogy is smartly-known now and has been at possibility of resolve loads of cold cases, but within the meanwhile, it became in its infancy.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: After I started on this self-discipline, it didn’t exist. 

Fitzpatrick says most police companies had been skeptical of this fresh investigative instrument. 

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The police, you know, thought I became loopy, this cramped feeble girl with a loopy notion. I became in actual fact nearly laughed out of the room …

However the King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise took a chance on Fitzpatrick.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: It became for free. I real desired to search if it labored. What are you gonna lose as soon as you occur to strive something? 

The Yarboroughs were encouraged. 

Tom Yarborough: I judge it wasn’t except we met Colleen Fitzpatrick that I in actual fact began to judge, OK, they’re gonna win this person.

And it didn’t rob prolonged earlier than Fitzpatrick came up with a establish of a seemingly suspect that bowled over real about all people.

Mary Beth Thome | Sarah’s pal: All people went “Pff. No formula.”


Colleen Fitzpatrick: From the origin it became very promising. And the story took some in actual fact extraordinary twists.

In 2011, two decades after Sarah’s homicide, when forensic genetic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick started working the Yarborough case, she traced Sarah’s killer’s family tree abet to a person named Robert Fuller, whose family had reach to The United States on the Mayflower.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: I discovered loads of matches to the establish “Fuller.”

When Fitzpatrick gave the establish “Fuller” to the King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise, they abruptly knew of one person with that final establish. Bill Fuller — the Yarborough’s finish family pal who helped accept that memorial bench constructed for Sarah.

Det. John Free: Naturally, that piqued our ardour.

From the origin, Sarah’s family and chums believed Bill Fuller had nothing to invent with Sarah’s homicide.

Laura Yarborough: He didn’t survey in any admire adore the suspect. The inaccurate hair coloration. He’s immediate, he’s no longer massive. He real didn’t match the profile in any admire.

Fuller’s age didn’t match the profile both. He’s Seventy 9 years feeble now but became forty eight years feeble on the time of Sarah’s homicide — no no longer as a lot as two a protracted time older than the man Drew Miller described.

Bill Fuller: There became no formula that I will most most likely be even remotely linked to this case.

He fully cooperated with police and voluntarily gave them a DNA sample. It didn’t match the DNA found at Sarah’s crime scene, yet Fitzpatrick remained optimistic.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: Essentially the most racy records is that we came up with a seemingly final establish to investigate and this became the foremost atomize within the case in two decades.

Fitzpatrick knew that Sarah’s killer became within the Fuller family tree somewhere, so she and her crew went abet to work. And since the years glided by she knew she became most effective getting closer — specifically after 2018 when forensic genetic genealogy became at possibility of establish the Golden Inform Killer.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The Golden Inform Killer in actual fact started the mammoth revolution.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: … issues had developed that we had the records to work with. The skills became in space that we will also scoot for it.

Then, in September 2019, Fitzpatrick’s crew made a leap forward. They came up with two fresh seemingly suspects: brothers Edward and Patrick Nicholas, who, as the DNA confirmed, were distant cousins of Bill Fuller.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: This is eight years of on-and-off and taking a survey at it and never giving up. … This is it. This is thrilling.

Det. John Free: Edward Nicholas … became a registered sex culprit. His DNA became within the system. Used to be in CODIS.

However Edward’s DNA wasn’t a match. So they zeroed in on his brother Patrick who, in 2019, became a divorced loner who lived a few cities a ways from Federal Method.

Det. John Free: We realized that he became working at an auto part store. … Lived on my own. No younger of us, no chums or acquaintances that would even scoot to him. … Every little thing that he did became mostly by bus. … He wasn’t using.

Detective Free says he found that as soon as Sarah became murdered, the bus route Patrick Nicholas regularly took came about to head previous Federal Method High College. Relief then, Nicholas became real 27 years feeble and around that point seemed very great adore the description of the sketch.

Det. John Free: It seemed promising at that point, but we silent wished to accept a DNA sample from him to match as a lot as the DNA evidence that we had.

So, in unhurried September 2019, investigators came up with a thought.

Det. John Free: We assigned a crew of undercover detectives to commence doing surveillance on Patrick Nicholas. Within the hopes of obtaining a surreptitious DNA sample.

Within the waste, undercover detectives followed Nicholas to a laundromat.

Patrick Nicholas surveillance
Undercover detectives followed Patrick Nicholas to a laundromat. They watched him scoot outside and smoke two cigarettes. Nicholas dropped the two cigarette butts and a napkin, which the detectives silent for DNA testing.  

King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise

Det. John Free: They saw him scoot outside and smoke a cigarette. … And Patrick Nicholas became considered throwing the cigarette butt on the floor that became silent by our detectives.

Natalie Morales: That’s what you wished.

Det. John Free: Certain.

Natalie Morales: Factual there, that cigarette butt.

Det. John Free: Certain. In actual fact he dropped two cigarette butts and a napkin that fell out of his pocket and all three items were silent.

The DNA samples were rushed to the crime lab and interior days detectives bought the dedication that they had been making an attempt forward to.

Det. John Free: The DNA matched. This became our suspect.

Natalie Morales: Ultimate match?

Det. John Free: Certain.

Patrick Nicholas became arrested.

Natalie Morales: There were so many suspects over time, became Patrick Leon Nicholas ever named a suspect?

Det. John Free: Out of 4,000 pointers. He became never named.

Patrick Yarborough
Patrick Nicholas in a 2019 booking report.

King County Sheriff’s Arena of enterprise

Andrew Yarborough: I became, I became quite in shock.

The records became a relief for Sarah’s family and chums who had never given up hope that they’d accept answers.

Laura Yarborough: One thing the detectives stored telling us became … by hook or by crook skills’s gonna resolve this case. … I trusted that, they veritably turned out that they were real.

Kristi Gutierrez : And I take care of in mind going out to my automobile … and bawling, real bawling. … Within the waste. Within the waste they acquired him.

When Drew Miller — who had considered Sarah’s killer abet in 1991 — saw Patrick Nicholas’s face, he says he knew that they had the particular person.

Natalie Morales: What did he survey adore?

Drew Miller: The identical guy, real older.

Natalie Morales: Same face?

Drew Miller: Immoral eyes. Those execrable eyes stayed the the same.

Natalie Morales: All these years later?

Drew Miller: Yeah.

However it became no longer over yet.

DETECTIVE (interrogation): Why invent you mediate you are right here?

PATRICK NICHOLAS: I invent no longer personal any clue.

Right via his interrogation …

PATRICK NICHOLAS: What am I am being charged for?

… when detectives specifically requested him about Sarah’s homicide, he gave an alarming response.

DETECTIVE: What we’re investigating is the death of a younger girl. Her establish is Sarah Yarborough.

PATRICK NICHOLAS: What one year?

Homicide suspect asks request that raises eyebrows


Det. John Free: Curiously he requested what one year this became, and that really sent up a flag.

Natalie Morales: Why?

Det. John Free: Why would you query that? He’s being immediate right here’s a homicide case. We’re questioning at this point, are there other victims?

PATRICK NICHOLAS (interrogation): This is it. I’m no longer gonna direct anything else …

After an hour and a half of, Nicholas requested for an licensed skilled and stopped talking. However his prison sage would communicate volumes.

Anne Croney: I am the one who acquired away.


On a silent morning in June 1983, eight years earlier than Sarah’s homicide, 21-one year-feeble Anne Croney became sitting by her automobile along the Columbia River in Richland, Washington, when a person approached her.

Anne Croney
Anne Croney

Anne Croney

Anne Croney: He seemed customary. … roughly pleasant, in actual fact, real pleasant … I had requested him if he’d done any water snowboarding yet because he talked about he had real moved to city and he talked about he would perhaps no longer swim. … And he talked about, “my establish is Pat Nicholas.”

After about a minutes of diminutive focus on, she turned uncomfortable.

Anne Croney: I realized his impart became getting shaky and I immediate him I needed to head. … I went to total the door and he place a knife to my throat. … Every little thing roughly stopped at that moment. … He immediate me to rob my clothes off.

Nicholas stuffed Croney’s lingerie into her mouth to forestall her from screaming, forced her out of the automobile, and led her to the riverbank.

Anne Croney: We acquired about midway down the bank, and he immediate me to discontinue … I ran … and dove within the river because I became considering he would perhaps no longer swim … swam as appealing as I will also.

Natalie Morales: Swam on your lifestyles.

Anne Croney: I swam for my lifestyles.

Girl swims for her lifestyles in a Washington Inform river after learning her would-be rapist can’t swim by
forty eight Hours on

Passersby found Croney at a dock nearby and known as police. As it turns out, 19-one year-feeble Patrick Nicholas became no stranger to laws enforcement and had a sage. He had raped two girls and attempted to rape a third.

Anne Croney: He’d been convicted … of rape as a juvenile and had in actual fact most effective real been out for about a months when he attacked me.

Days after Croney’s attack, he became tracked down, arrested, and pleaded guilty to attempted rape. He immediate authorities, “I mark that I in actual fact personal a problem relating raping girls.” At his sentencing hearing, Croney spoke out.

Anne Croney: I became in actual fact very offended and requested the make a dedication for the most sentence and the make a dedication did agree and sentenced him to 10 years. … So, I believed it became over. I believed that justice had been served.

However Patrick Nicholas didn’t serve the chubby 10 years in penal complex. He became launched after real three-and-a-half of years. Croney became never notified. She barely thought of him again except October 2019.

Anne Croney: The police knocked on my door … and talked about that there were detectives in Seattle that desired to talk to me about a frigid case.

They immediate Croney that Patrick Nicholas had been arrested again — this time for the homicide of Sarah Yarborough.

Anne Croney: They immediate me that there were similarities within the cases, and I became beaten. … It had never took place to me that what I escaped from became a murderer.

What’s extra, if Nicholas had served his chubby penal complex sentence he would personal silent been within the abet of bars that December morning in 1991 — unable to homicide Sarah Yarborough.

Natalie Morales: How offended are you to hear that he became launched that early?

Anne Croney: Very. It introduced up rather loads of the feeble enrage and even extra enrage for the explanation that system failed.

King County deputy prosecuting attorneys Celia Lee and Mary Barbosa describe him as a serial predator with a certain sample.

Celia Lee: All of the ladies were approached at or reach their automobile. … he would strike up conversation and then pull a knife and yell them that they wished to scoot … where he would inform them to rob off their clothes and then rape them.

Nicholas had additionally been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in 1994, three years after Sarah’s homicide. 5 sexual assaults that investigators knew of – none of which had required him to publish his DNA so there became no sage of him within the CODIS database. However in pre-trial hearings, the make a dedication ruled that Nicholas’ prison historical previous will also no longer be entered in as evidence.

Celia Lee: She found that it will most most likely be unfairly prejudicial to the defendant.

However the prosecutors were hopeful their case became solid ample. In early 2023, bigger than 30 years after Sarah Yarborough’s homicide, her accused killer – now 59 years feeble – went on trial. Sarah’s childhood chums were there.

Sarah Yarborough's chums
Amy Parodi, Kristi Gutierrez,  Liberty Barnes and Mary Beth Thome were some of Sarah’s closest chums. 

CBS Records

Kristi Gutierrez: I so clearly take care of in mind … the morning earlier than the trial started real going, “I invent no longer know if I will invent this.” Take care of, you know I had so many different emotions flowing via, and it became adore, “no, we personal to be there.”

Liberty Barnes: There became this absolute adore for Sarah and the Yarboroughs that became so solid.

Natalie Morales: Did you’re feeling adore they were a lifeline for you?

Laura Yarborough: Yeah … You weren’t in it on my own. You were all in it collectively.

As the trial acquired underway, the foremost point of curiosity became on the DNA.

Natalie Morales: What became your plan then, in making an attempt this case.

Mary Barbosa: Neatly, we wished them to believe the science.

CELIA LEE (in court): There became a self-discipline that became emerging known as forensic genetic genealogy.

Patrick Nicholas’s public defender, David Montes, challenged how forensic genetic genealogy became at possibility of first establish Nicholas — the foremost time that roughly defense had been vulnerable in Washington Inform.

DAVID MONTES (in court): I must dig into the science …

DAVID MONTES (in court): They vulnerable skills that became no longer most effective unproven, but real wacky in actual fact …

DAVID MONTES (in court): He’s no longer the individual that killed Sarah Yarborough. … the police … wished an resolution bigger than they wished the particular resolution … And, so, they turned to fresh unusual, untested skills.

David Montes: Genetic genealogy is a fresh self-discipline … it in actual fact hasn’t been tested out … must we be making well-known choices in accordance with something that is no longer smartly or deeply understood?

However the prosecutors talked about that argument became moot because Patrick Nicholas’ DNA matched the DNA found on the Yarborough crime scene. And Detective Free says the numbers were massive.

Det. John Free: The percentages were 1-in-120 quadrillion –

Natalie Morales: Quadrillion –

Det. John Free: Factual. That it became any individual else.

If the numbers pointed to Nicholas’ guilt, laws enforcement says so did evidence found at his home reach the time of his arrest in 2019.

Det. John Free: it became nearly adore a lair … there became no working electricity at this home … stacks of pornography all during the gap … We additionally found a newspaper from 1994 that had on its front net page an article referring to the Sarah Yarborough case. … and going via certainly one of many kitchen drawers, we found … a torn photograph … taken from a magazine of a girl in a cheerleading outfit.

Liberty Barnes: When the prosecutors confirmed that report within the court, the oxygen left the room.

Evidence from accused killer Patrick Nicholas’ home proven at trial


Montes downplayed their significance.

David Montes: Both these items of evidence weren’t specifically ordinary, given the final tell of his home. … There were stacks and stacks of newspapers a ways and broad his home.

Patrick Nicholas didn’t flinch as the evidence became proven, showing no emotion during the trial. However Sarah Yarborough’s presence became felt. Namely when now-retired Capt. Scott Strathy fastidiously unpackaged and displayed Sarah’s clothes that had been in storage for over 30 years: her drill crew jacket, shoes, sweater and even her nylon stockings.

Det. Scott Strathy: This became adore opening a — a time pill.

Amy Parodi: Without note … they were true issues. They weren’t even photos … they were the issues she had on her body when she died. … you real, you form of felt your self crumple …

After 9 prolonged days of testimony, the case went to the jury. It took them real over a day to reach a verdict.

Mary Beth Thome: I became shaking. And adore, real that — adore there became so great adrenaline and so great anticipation.

Kristi Gutierrez: Every little thing real dropped. It became adore — what?


Sarah Yarborough’s loved ones had waited over 30 years for this moment, but then — shock.

“… no longer guilty of the crime of homicide within the foremost stage, premeditated …”

Patrick Nicholas became found no longer guilty of the foremost charge: premeditated first stage homicide.

Shannon Grant: I take care of in mind dropping my head to my fingers … I became offended. I became in disbelief.

Amy Parodi: When that first one came in no longer guilty, I closed my eyes.

However there were other charges, and there became silent hope of a conviction.

 “… Responsible of the crime of homicide within the first stage”… “guilty … within the second stage …”

Patrick Nicholas became found guilty of first-stage homicide and second-stage homicide. The jury ruled both had been committed with a sexual motivation.

Celia Lee: I take care of in mind hearing the family within the abet of me cry. … And I made gape contact with the jurors and nodded at them, you know, they acquired it. They acquired it, real.

Liberty Barnes: I feel so grateful for these detectives. For the boys, for the old victims, for every win out about who took the stand … so grateful that each one these of us came collectively.

Two weeks after Nicholas’ conviction, dozens of folk that had been occupied with every a part of Sarah’s case gathered abet on the courthouse for his sentencing hearing. Prosecutors requested the make a dedication to impose time previous laws to take be aware of all of Nicholas’ crimes.

Liberty Barnes: The sentencing hearing became exhilarating in a technique that I never anticipated. … it became presumably the most raw human braveness I in actual fact personal ever considered in my lifestyles.

Laura Yarborough
Laura Yarborough at Patrick Nicholas’ sentencing hearing.


LAURA YARBOROUGH (in court): Sarah’s death left our family broken, and now we personal never been the the same …

ANDREW YARBOROUGH (in court): The worry in my father’s impart over the phone telling me Sarah became useless …

Person after person took to the podium to impart all that Patrick Nicholas had taken from them.

DREW MILLER (in court): Coming face-to-face with pure execrable that day has deeply impacted my total lifestyles …

AMY PARODI (in court): He took her lifestyles, and what became certain to be an glorious future from her. … In taking Sarah, he took the innocence of each certainly one of us.

SHANNON GRANT (in court): Patrick Nicholas is pure execrable.

Liberty Barnes: To face Patrick Nicholas and to impart what that they had been making an attempt to impart to his face for 30 years. … there became so great vitality within the room. It became electric.

And then Anne Croney, who wasn’t allowed to testify at Sarah’s trial, started talking.

Liberty Barnes: He real did adore a double rob and shuddered when Anne stood up.

Natalie Morales: Take care of he saw a ghost?

Liberty Barnes: Certain. 

Anne Croney: I am certain he didn’t request to ever search my face or hear my establish ever again.

ANNE CRONEY (in court):  We rely on a system of justice that is designed to protect us from predators adore Nicholas. And this form failed me. It failed Sarah, her family, chums, and endless others … I query the court to thrill no longer blueprint the the same mistake.

After all people spoke, Decide Josephine Wiggs addressed the court.

JUDGE JOSEPHINE WIGGS (in court): After I judge about this wretched cramped one. This wretched cramped one. And what she skilled, struggling with for her lifestyles.

Mary Beth Thome: Wiggs place her fist on the object and talked about, “this became rather one. … she stored asserting that. And all I will also judge became — that’s real. We were younger of us.

Nicholas bought a sentence of nearly 46 years. For Sarah’s family and chums, the sentence introduced mixed emotions.

Mary Beth Thome: I invent no longer know that right here’s justice. It’s a ways a verdict, and it’s striking any individual away for something that they did, but he acquired 30 years … that she didn’t accept.

Laura Yarborough: It makes me furious that he became free for so decades … and who knows what number of other of us were damage right via that point. I — I invent no longer know that we will ever know. And that would also were avoided.

Forensic genetic genealogy helped resolve Sarah’s case, but prosecutors direct identical skills will also personal known Patrick Nicholas years earlier if most effective familial DNA searches were allowed in Washington Inform. In a familial DNA search, an unknown DNA sample is compared against profiles already in CODIS to quiz for seemingly family contributors. Patrick Nicholas’ brother had been in CODIS for years.

Mary Barbosa: The laws real doesn’t exist on this tell to enable that search …

Natalie Morales: California uses it. The UK, as I mark has —

Celia Lee: New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Florida …

Natalie Morales: Attain you mediate it be time to accept that laws changed?

Mary Barbosa: We invent.

Celia Lee: We invent.

The Yarboroughs agree and hope that Sarah’s case can blueprint a distinction.

Laura Yarborough: I would adore to know that other folks assign no longer must support 30 years. …

Natalie Morales: What invent you hope her legacy is?

Laura Yarborough: Neatly … I judge her legacy is she became regularly any individual who introduced of us collectively … she’s introduced the total of us collectively that attended the trial … that is the roughly person she became.

For Drew Miller, who at 13 found Sarah’s body, the connections made at trial at final introduced him some peace.

Drew Miller: Luminous he’s in penal complex is amazing. However radiant her family and chums is formula extra well-known to me because that’s what’s given me the true therapeutic that I needed.

Sarah Yarborough
Sarah Yarborough

Federal Method High College yearbook by plan of Laura Yarborough

Sarah’s chums will regularly remain bonded by the previous, and Sarah’s stolen future.

Kristi Gutierrez: Now not most effective became she comely, her soul became comely … and the grace and the class that she carried and left with all of us. … We would perhaps no longer omit her. We are able to never omit her.

Investigators personal no longer linked Patrick Nicholas to any extra crimes, but his DNA is now within the CODIS database.

Produced by Chris Young Ritzen and Lauren Clark. Greg Fisher is the come producer. Michael Loftus is the affiliate producer. Gary Winter, Joan Adelman and Doreen Schechter are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the govteditor. Judy Tygard is the govtproducer.

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