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3 a long time after teenager’s homicide, DNA is helping ID killer with a historical past of crimes towards girls

Sarah Yarborough was once a 16-year-old honors scholar on her technique to drill staff observe, when she was once discovered murdered at the campus of her highschool. Investigators had DNA proof and eyewitnesses, however it will take virtually 3 a long time to determine Sarah’s killer. As “48 Hours” contributor Natalie Morales stories, this example had a large affect on her circle of relatives, buddies and generations of investigators.


Natalie Morales: How steadily do you take into consideration Dec. 14th, 1991, and what came about on that day? 

Drew Miller: Slightly somewhat. It is a very irritating factor to head via. 

It is been over 30 years, however the main points of that day have by no means light for Drew Miller. 

Drew Miller: I had my buddy spend the night time at my space. We awoke that morning … watched cartoons, ate cereal, left to head skateboarding.

Eyewitness unearths a highschool scholar’s frame and sees her suspected killer through
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Miller, who was once simply 13 on the time, lived down the road from Federal Means Top Faculty close to Seattle, Washington.

Natalie Morales: The varsity grounds have modified somewhat somewhat, proper?

Drew Miller: Enormously, sure … The tennis court docket is the one factor that is nonetheless right here.

Miller steadily took shortcuts in the course of the college to head skateboarding, as he and his buddy did that day.

Drew Miller (out of doors Federal Means Top Faculty): We used to hop the fence, proper right here … and reduce via right here (pointing ) … It was once freezing chilly that day. There was once ice in all the dust puddles. We simply, , began smashing them as a result of it is a laugh … seems like breaking glass. 

That is when Miller says they spotted a person within the timber.

Drew Miller: Proper the place you notice the brink of this dugout proper right here (issues) … That was once all timber that have been most certainly this tall (positioning his hand close to his shoulders). So, we could not see him till he stood up.

Drew Miller: He is simply looking at us from the timber. That was once lovely jarring. However then he simply walked out of the timber. So, then we simply assumed he was once simply smoking weed or one thing.

The mysterious guy saved to himself and walked forward of the men. Miller says they did not assume a lot of it till they got here throughout a horrendous scene. There within the timber, the place the person had simply been, was once the frame of a tender girl.

Drew Miller: It was once terrible. Completely terrible. The best way that he left her frame. … She obviously fought for her existence. 

Miller says his surprise grew to become to concern when he discovered the person, who was once nonetheless simply ft in entrance of them, was once now staring immediately again at him. 

Natalie Morales: Does that glance nonetheless hang-out you?

Drew Miller: Oh yeah. Yeah …  It is frozen in my thoughts. 

Natalie Morales: The boogeyman then. 

Drew Miller: Reputable boogeyman.

The lads raced to Miller’s space and police have been referred to as to the scene.

Scott Strathy: After we approached the sufferer … on probably the most items of clothes we noticed the title “Sarah.”

Sarah Yarborough’s frame was once discovered about 300 ft clear of her automobile at the college assets. She was once partly dressed, and a pile of her clothes lay within the grass within sight.  “We actually had a monster locally and we simply did not know who it was once,” mentioned Scott Strathy, who was once probably the most first officials at the scene.

King County Awesome Courtroom

Detective Scott Strathy with the King County Sheriff’s Place of job was once probably the most first officials at the scene.

Scott Strathy: And naturally, later we came upon that that was once Sarah Yarborough.

Scott Strathy: Even for skilled investigators, this scene was once in reality exhausting to maintain. Simply the blameless nature of this younger girl. In her college drill staff uniform. Together with her sizzling curlers nonetheless in her hair. … This was once simply natural unadulterated evil. 

Investigators believed this was once a sexually motivated homicide.

Scott Strathy: She was once partly clothed, her jacket, her undergarments, her bra were got rid of … and positioned subsequent to her frame.

Police came upon that the automobile Sarah had pushed that morning was once parked within the college automobile parking space – about 300 ft from the place her frame was once discovered. 

Det. John Unfastened: There did not in reality seem to be any kind of a battle within the automobile itself.

Detective John Unfastened with the King County Sheriff’s Place of job Main Crimes Unit would later sign up for the investigation. 

Det. John Unfastened: She had a container of orange juice that she had made that morning. It was once simply sitting within the entrance seat. Not anything was once tipped over. So the query was once, how did she get from her automobile to this hill? What lead her there? 

Scott Strathy: Sarah was once this sort of other folks that may lend a hand somebody with the rest at any time. And a part of our operating concept was once, was once she coaxed into following, , the suspect. Did he say one thing like – I am on the lookout for my misplaced canine or I will be able to’t in finding my automobile keys? In all probability Sarah, in an try to help this particular person, could have adopted him to that space.

Sarah Yarborough in her drill staff uniform.

Laura Yarborough

Natalie Morales: (pointing to photograph of Sarah in her drill staff uniform): Inform me about this one.

Laura Yarborough: That was once not up to per week, I feel, prior to she died. I mentioned, “may just I take your photograph as a result of your Nice Grandma in reality needs an image of you for your drill staff.” And she or he mentioned, “OK.”

Laura Yarborough: It was once simply too unbelievable to imagine that it will even occur.

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

Sarah’s oldsters, Tom and Laura Yarborough, had the excruciating activity of getting to inform their two sons the tragic information. Sarah’s youngest brother Andrew was once simply 11 years outdated on the time.

Andrew Yarborough: At that age, most certainly by no means observed or heard your oldsters cry a lot. However that ache within the voice, may be very, very shiny.

Sarah, who had simply began her junior 12 months in highschool, had giant plans for her long run — beginning with school.

Laura Yarborough: She did not need to cross to a state college. She sought after to head to a faculty a ways away (laughs). She cherished to commute.

Liberty Barnes: I in truth would listen her say … “I will be able to’t come to a decision if I wanna be a museum curator or an engineer like my father.” … And I used to be at all times rooting for the museum curator (laughs).

Liberty Barnes, Kristi Gutierrez, Amy Parodi and Mary Beth Thome have been a few of Sarah’s closest buddies.

Sarah Yarborough and buddies.

Liberty Barnes

Mary Beth Thome (pointing on the staff photograph observed above): So, this was once after the closing day of 10th grade. After we have been simply kinda goofing round afterwards. And that completely, I imply you’ll be able to see, there may be Sarah proper in the course of it. Simply being goofy.

Natalie Morales: The fiery purple hair, was once that her persona a bit bit?

“Sure,” Sarah’s buddies responded in unison.

Amy Parodi:  She was once inventive, she was once ingenious, she was once sensible. She was once feisty …

Liberty Barnes: Imaginative.

Amy Parodi: All of the ones issues.

Kristi Gutierrez: She will be the closing one to look forward to somebody. … All the time be there with a grin. She would lend a hand with homework. … It was once her final kindness. 

After Sarah was once ripped from their lives, they are saying their sense of protection was once long gone endlessly.

Amy Parodi: You develop up getting the entire protection conversations together with your oldsters and dangerous issues can occur and its kind of a obscure risk available in the market. After which abruptly, it was once like no, no, no, no it may in reality occur. It in reality did simply occur.

Scott Strathy: It was once all fingers on deck. The Sheriff’s Place of job put the entirety they’d into fixing this example once they might.

And the killer left at the back of necessary proof. Sarah had now not been raped, however the killer’s DNA was once discovered on items of her clothes.

Det. John Unfastened: There was once semen discovered on her lingerie and on her jacket. … We had a complete male DNA profile.

DNA generation was once new again in 1991, however investigators was hoping that DNA would sooner or later cause them to Sarah’s killer. Within the period in-between, they’d eyewitnesses.

Drew Miller: I believed evidently someone would know him. 

Witnesses Drew Miller and his buddy who was once with him the morning they discovered Sarah’s frame, labored with police and a comic strip of the person they noticed within the timber was once launched to the general public. Police would later free up a extra elaborate comic strip.

King County Sheriff’s Place of job

Miller and his buddy who was once with him the morning they discovered Sarah’s frame, labored with police and a comic strip of the person they noticed within the timber was once launched to the general public. Police would later free up a extra elaborate comic strip.

Kristi Guiterrez:  I very vividly bear in mind going via yearbooks. Going, “OK, who looks as if the comic strip?” Everybody … it felt like at one level was once, was once a suspect.

However as days went through and as leads dried up, police saved coming again to Drew and his buddy.

Drew Miller: They simply made me really feel like I used to be the one particular person that would lend a hand them clear up this. I do know that wasn’t their intent. I do know the officials have been simply doing their very best.

Natalie Morales: How a lot power have been you feeling?

Drew Miller: It is not possible power.

And regardless of everybody’s very best efforts, it will take years to search out Sarah’s killer.

Scott Strathy: This situation was once by no means forgotten.


In early June of 1993, a year-and-a-half after Sarah Yarborough’s homicide, native media have been there as scholars accrued within the courtyard of Federal Means Top Faculty to honor her. 

KOMO/ABC NEWS REPORT: Invoice Fuller, a circle of relatives buddy who helped spearhead the transfer for a memorial to keep in mind Sarah unveiled it with lend a hand from Sarah’s more youthful brother Andrew.

Invoice Fuller: It was once somewhat an afternoon. … A large number of tears as they checked out it. You might want to see Sarah in that bench.

Invoice Fuller has identified the Yarboroughs for years, and his daughter was once in Sarah’s elegance. 

Invoice Fuller:  Sarah … she was once a laugh to be round … most certainly what we overlooked essentially the most is she was once a laugh to be round. 

The bench reads “Carpe Diem” — “Snatch the day” — a mantra Sarah lived through. Encased in bronze are a few of her favourite possessions — ballet sneakers, a reproduction of Sarah’s liked canine “Gibby” and books.

KIRO-TV NEWS REPORT (1993): Andrew Yarborough: It is great that folks cared about her such a lot.

Tom, Laura and Andrew Yarborough

CBS Information

Andrew Yarborough, now an grownup, admits that he struggled as a tender youngster. It was once particularly tough to look the ones sketches round the town of the person police believed murdered his sister.

Andrew Yarborough: There was once drawings of the individual’s face far and wide in companies and cities. I do recall that somewhat somewhat, having that roughly a relentless reminder. 

Tom Yarborough: Having a look again, I think like we did not do an excellent process with the men. … However we have been simply so fed on through our personal grief that we did not take time to lend a hand them. 

Laura Yarborough: I feel we did not in reality understand how to lend a hand them. It wasn’t one thing we had enjoy with. We did not know the rest about grieving ourselves or find out how to lend a hand them via it.

They usually were not on my own of their grief. Shannon Grant, the closing buddy to look Sarah alive, says she lived with consistent feel sorry about. 

Shannon Grant: I want lets return and do it far and wide once more. That I might have requested the opposite drill staff participants what time observe was once. You already know, possibly dropped her off. I imply there are numerous the what ifs. 

The milestones have been particularly painful.

Liberty Barnes: There was once survivor guilt. Like why am I filling out my school programs when Sarah sought after to visit school? This is not honest. 

Mary Beth Thome: Each blissful instance had this sorrow that went with it. There is one lacking from the group right here.

Commencement day, June 12, 1993, was once an emotional day however much more so because it fell on what would had been Sarah’s 18th birthday. Laura Yarborough got here to give a boost to her daughter’s buddies. 

Liberty Barnes: I have no idea the place she discovered the power to do this.

“She cherished that inexperienced get dressed, proper?” “48 Hours” contributor Natalie Morales requested Laura Yarborough. “Yeah. She wore inexperienced somewhat somewhat. Together with her hair,” Yarborough responded.

Liberty Barnes

Laura Yarborough says Sarah’s buddies helped ease her grief quite and she or he thinks she crammed a void for them, as smartly.

Laura Yarborough: Every now and then they might say, “Smartly, I am gonna date this particular person and I simply sought after to mean you can know purpose I wasn’t certain if Sarah would approve of this particular person” (laughs).

Natalie Morales: So, they might search approval via you. You turned into kind of their surrogate.

Laura Yarborough: Sure (laughs). 

As existence slowly moved ahead, investigators saved operating the case. 

Det. John Unfastened: I describe it as a relay race the place the baton was once passed off from one detective to the following through the years and a long time. … I roughly discuss with myself because the 5th Beatle on this investigation.

By means of the early 2000s, investigators had gained over 3,000 leads. And advances in generation made them hopeful. They entered the DNA from the crime scene into the not too long ago established CODIS gadget – a countrywide DNA database that incorporates profiles of convicted offenders.

Det. John Unfastened: The method was once to repeatedly attempt to see if there would ever be a fit … whilst additionally investigating leads. 

However through the years there gave the look to be no fit. 

Det. John Unfastened: For us to have DNA proof from the suspect, however now not have that hyperlink to any one, it simply did not make sense. It appeared exhausting to imagine the suspect had now not dedicated every other prior crimes the place his DNA would not be within the gadget.

That is when he says detectives discovered they needed to cross in a unique route. 

Colleen Fitzpatrick: My title’s Colleen Fitzpatrick and I am probably the most pioneers of forensic genetic family tree. 

In 2011, investigators reached out to Fitzpatrick to inquire about the usage of forensic genetic family tree — the observe of the usage of tool to check unknown DNA profiles to data from public DNA databases and looking out circle of relatives timber to spot suspects. Genetic family tree is widely recognized now and has been used to unravel a lot of chilly instances, however at the moment, it was once in its infancy.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: Once I began on this box, it did not exist. 

Fitzpatrick says maximum police companies were skeptical of this new investigative device. 

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The police, , concept I used to be loopy, this little outdated girl with a loopy thought. I used to be in truth virtually laughed out of the room …

However the King County Sheriff’s Place of job took a possibility on Fitzpatrick.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: It was once totally free. I simply sought after to look if it labored. What are you gonna lose in case you take a look at one thing? 

The Yarboroughs have been inspired. 

Tom Yarborough: I feel it wasn’t till we met Colleen Fitzpatrick that I in reality started to assume, OK, they are gonna in finding this particular person.

And it did not take lengthy prior to Fitzpatrick got here up with a reputation of a conceivable suspect that shocked with reference to everybody.

Mary Beth Thome | Sarah’s buddy: Everybody went “Pff. No means.”


Colleen Fitzpatrick: From the start it was once very promising. And the tale took some in reality extraordinary twists.

In 2011, two decades after Sarah’s homicide, when forensic genetic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick got to work the Yarborough case, she traced Sarah’s killer’s circle of relatives tree again to a person named Robert Fuller, whose circle of relatives had come to The usa at the Mayflower.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: I discovered a lot of suits to the title “Fuller.”

When Fitzpatrick gave the title “Fuller” to the King County Sheriff’s Place of job, they right away knew of 1 particular person with that closing title. Invoice Fuller — the Yarborough’s shut circle of relatives buddy who helped get that memorial bench constructed for Sarah.

Det. John Unfastened: Naturally, that piqued our pastime.

From the start, Sarah’s friends and family believed Invoice Fuller had not anything to do with Sarah’s homicide.

Laura Yarborough: He did not take a look at all just like the suspect. The fallacious hair colour. He is quick, he isn’t tall. He simply did not have compatibility the profile in any respect.

Fuller’s age did not fit the profile both. He is 79 years outdated now however was once 48 years outdated on the time of Sarah’s homicide — no less than twenty years older than the person Drew Miller described.

Invoice Fuller: There was once no means that I might be even remotely attached to this example.

He totally cooperated with police and voluntarily gave them a DNA pattern. It did not fit the DNA discovered at Sarah’s crime scene, but Fitzpatrick remained positive.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The excellent news is that we got here up with a conceivable closing title to research and this was once the primary destroy within the case in two decades.

Fitzpatrick knew that Sarah’s killer was once within the Fuller circle of relatives tree someplace, so she and her staff went again to paintings. And because the years went through she knew she was once handiest getting nearer — particularly after 2018 when forensic genetic family tree was once used to spot the Golden State Killer.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The Golden State Killer in reality began the large revolution.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: … issues had advanced that we had the knowledge to paintings with. The generation was once in position that lets opt for it.

Then, in September 2019, Fitzpatrick’s staff made a step forward. They got here up with two new conceivable suspects: brothers Edward and Patrick Nicholas, who, because the DNA confirmed, have been far away cousins of Invoice Fuller.

Colleen Fitzpatrick: That is 8 years of on-and-off and taking a look at it and not giving up. … That is it. That is thrilling.

Det. John Unfastened: Edward Nicholas … was once a registered intercourse perpetrator. His DNA was once within the gadget. Used to be in CODIS.

However Edward’s DNA wasn’t a fit. So that they zeroed in on his brother Patrick who, in 2019, was once a divorced loner who lived a few cities clear of Federal Means.

Det. John Unfastened: We realized that he was once operating at an auto phase retailer. … Lived on my own. No youngsters, no buddies or acquaintances that may even seek advice from him. … The whole lot that he did was once most commonly through bus. … He wasn’t riding.

Detective Unfastened says he came upon that after Sarah was once murdered, the bus course Patrick Nicholas steadily took came about to head previous Federal Means Top Faculty. Again then, Nicholas was once simply 27 years outdated and round that point appeared very just like the outline of the comic strip.

Det. John Unfastened: It appeared promising at that time, however we nonetheless had to get a DNA pattern from him to check as much as the DNA proof that we had.

So, in past due September 2019, investigators got here up with a plan.

Det. John Unfastened: We assigned a staff of undercover detectives to begin doing surveillance on Patrick Nicholas. Within the hopes of acquiring a surreptitious DNA pattern.

Sooner or later, undercover detectives adopted Nicholas to a laundromat.

Undercover detectives adopted Patrick Nicholas to a laundromat. They watched him cross out of doors and smoke two cigarettes. Nicholas dropped the 2 cigarette butts and a serviette, which the detectives accumulated for DNA checking out.  

King County Sheriff’s Place of job

Det. John Unfastened: They noticed him cross out of doors and smoke a cigarette. … And Patrick Nicholas was once observed throwing the cigarette butt at the flooring that was once accumulated through our detectives.

Natalie Morales: That is what you wanted.

Det. John Unfastened: Sure.

Natalie Morales: Proper there, that cigarette butt.

Det. John Unfastened: Sure. In truth he dropped two cigarette butts and a serviette that fell out of his pocket and all 3 pieces have been accumulated.

The DNA samples have been rushed to the crime lab and inside days detectives gained the decision they’d been looking forward to.

Det. John Unfastened: The DNA matched. This was once our suspect.

Natalie Morales: Absolute best fit?

Det. John Unfastened: Sure.

Patrick Nicholas was once arrested.

Natalie Morales: There have been such a lot of suspects through the years, was once Patrick Leon Nicholas ever named a suspect?

Det. John Unfastened: Out of four,000 guidelines. He was once by no means named.

Patrick Nicholas in a 2019 reserving photograph.

King County Sheriff’s Place of job

Andrew Yarborough: I used to be, I used to be lovely in surprise.

The inside track was once a aid for Sarah’s friends and family who had by no means given up hope that they might get solutions.

Laura Yarborough: Something the detectives saved telling us was once … sooner or later generation’s gonna clear up this example. … I relied on that, they usually grew to become out that they have been proper.

Kristi Gutierrez : And I bear in mind going out to my automobile … and bawling, simply bawling. … In spite of everything. In spite of everything they were given him.

When Drew Miller — who had observed Sarah’s killer again in 1991 — noticed Patrick Nicholas’s face, he says he knew they’d the proper particular person.

Natalie Morales: What did he appear to be?

Drew Miller: The similar man, simply older.

Natalie Morales: Similar face?

Drew Miller: Evil eyes. The ones evil eyes stayed the similar.

Natalie Morales: A majority of these years later?

Drew Miller: Yeah.

However it was once now not over but.

DETECTIVE (interrogation): Why do you assume you might be right here?

PATRICK NICHOLAS: I don’t have any clue.

All the way through his interrogation …

PATRICK NICHOLAS: What am I’m being charged for?

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

DETECTIVE: What we are investigating is the loss of life of a tender lady. Her title is Sarah Yarborough.

PATRICK NICHOLAS: What 12 months?

Homicide suspect asks query that raises eyebrows

Det. John Unfastened: Apparently he requested what 12 months this was once, and that in reality despatched up a flag.

Natalie Morales: Why?

Det. John Unfastened: Why would you ask that? He is being informed it is a homicide case. We are questioning at this level, are there different sufferers?

PATRICK NICHOLAS (interrogation): That is it. I am not gonna say the rest …

After an hour and a half of, Nicholas requested for an legal professional and stopped speaking. However his felony document would discuss volumes.

Anne Croney: I’m the person who were given away.


On a quiet morning in June 1983, 8 years prior to Sarah’s homicide, 21-year-old Anne Croney was once sitting through her automobile alongside the Columbia River in Richland, Washington, when a person approached her.

Anne Croney

Anne Croney

Anne Croney: He appeared standard. … roughly pleasant, in truth, simply pleasant … I had requested him if he’d achieved any water snowboarding but as a result of he mentioned he had simply moved to the town and he mentioned he could not swim. … And he mentioned, “my title is Pat Nicholas.”

After a couple of mins of small communicate, she turned into uncomfortable.

Anne Croney: I spotted his voice was once getting shaky and I informed him I needed to cross. … I went to near the door and he put a knife to my throat. … The whole lot roughly stopped at that second. … He informed me to take my garments off.

Nicholas crammed Croney’s lingerie into her mouth to stop her from screaming, pressured her out of the automobile, and led her to the riverbank.

Anne Croney: We were given about midway down the financial institution, and he informed me to prevent … I ran … and dove within the river as a result of I used to be pondering he could not swim … swam as exhausting as I may just.

Natalie Morales: Swam on your existence.

Anne Croney: I swam for my existence.

Girl swims for her existence in a Washington State river after studying her would-be rapist can’t swim through
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Passersby discovered Croney at a dock within sight and referred to as police. Because it seems, 19-year-old Patrick Nicholas was once no stranger to regulation enforcement and had a document. He had raped two girls and tried to rape a 3rd.

Anne Croney: He’d been convicted … of rape as a juvenile and had in truth handiest simply been out for a couple of months when he attacked me.

Days after Croney’s assault, he was once tracked down, arrested, and pleaded responsible to tried rape. He informed government, “I understand that I’ve an issue relating to raping ladies.” At his sentencing listening to, Croney spoke out.

Anne Croney: I used to be in truth very indignant and requested the pass judgement on for the utmost sentence and the pass judgement on did agree and sentenced him to ten years. … So, I believed it was once over. I believed that justice were served.

However Patrick Nicholas didn’t serve the entire 10 years in jail. He was once launched after simply three-and-a-half years. Croney was once by no means notified. She slightly considered him once more till October 2019.

Anne Croney: The police knocked on my door … and mentioned that there have been detectives in Seattle that sought after to speak to me a couple of chilly case.

They knowledgeable Croney that Patrick Nicholas were arrested once more — this time for the homicide of Sarah Yarborough.

Anne Croney: They informed me that there have been similarities within the instances, and I used to be overwhelmed. … It had by no means befell to me that what I escaped from was once a assassin.

What is extra, if Nicholas had served his complete jail sentence he would have nonetheless been at the back of bars that December morning in 1991 — not able to homicide Sarah Yarborough.

Natalie Morales: How indignant are you to listen to that he was once launched that early?

Anne Croney: Very. It introduced up numerous the outdated anger and much more anger since the gadget failed.

King County deputy prosecuting lawyers Celia Lee and Mary Barbosa describe him as a serial predator with a transparent trend.

Celia Lee: All the girls have been approached at or close to their automobile. … he would strike up dialog after which pull a knife and inform them that they had to stroll … the place he would get them organized to take off their garments after which rape them.

Nicholas had additionally been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in 1994, 3 years after Sarah’s homicide. 5 sexual attacks that investigators knew of – none of which had required him to publish his DNA so there was once no document of him within the CODIS database. However in pre-trial hearings, the pass judgement on dominated that Nicholas’ felony historical past may just now not be entered in as proof.

Celia Lee: She discovered that it will be unfairly prejudicial to the defendant.

However the prosecutors have been hopeful their case was once robust sufficient. In early 2023, greater than 30 years after Sarah Yarborough’s homicide, her accused killer – now 59 years outdated – went on trial. Sarah’s adolescence buddies have been there.

Amy Parodi, Kristi Gutierrez,  Liberty Barnes and Mary Beth Thome have been a few of Sarah’s closest buddies. 

CBS Information

Kristi Gutierrez: I so obviously bear in mind … the morning prior to the trial began simply going, “I have no idea if I will be able to do that.” Like, I had such a lot of other feelings flowing via, and it was once like, “no, we wish to be there.”

Liberty Barnes: There was once this absolute love for Sarah and the Yarboroughs that was once so robust.

Natalie Morales: Did you are feeling like they have been a lifeline for you?

Laura Yarborough: Yeah … You were not in it on my own. You have been all in it in combination.

Because the trial were given underway, the point of interest was once at the DNA.

Natalie Morales: What was once your technique then, in attempting this example.

Mary Barbosa: Smartly, we wanted them to accept as true with the science.

CELIA LEE (in court docket): There was once a box that was once rising referred to as forensic genetic family tree.

Patrick Nicholas’s public defender, David Montes, challenged how forensic genetic family tree was once used to first determine Nicholas — the primary time that roughly protection were utilized in Washington State.

DAVID MONTES (in court docket): I need to dig into the science …

DAVID MONTES (in court docket): They used generation that was once now not handiest unproven, however simply wacky in reality …

DAVID MONTES (in court docket): He isn’t the individual that killed Sarah Yarborough. … the police … wanted a solution greater than they wanted the proper solution … And, so, they grew to become to new novel, untested generation.

David Montes: Genetic family tree is a brand new box … it in reality hasn’t been examined out … must we be making necessary choices in response to one thing that isn’t smartly or deeply understood?

However the prosecutors mentioned that argument was once moot as a result of Patrick Nicholas’ DNA matched the DNA discovered on the Yarborough crime scene. And Detective Unfastened says the numbers have been astronomical.

Det. John Unfastened: The percentages have been 1-in-120 quadrillion –

Natalie Morales: Quadrillion –

Det. John Unfastened: Proper. That it was once someone else.

If the numbers pointed to Nicholas’ guilt, regulation enforcement says so did proof discovered at his space close to the time of his arrest in 2019.

Det. John Unfastened: it was once virtually like a lair … there was once no operating electrical energy at this space … stacks of pornography all during where … We additionally discovered a newspaper from 1994 that had on its entrance web page a piece of writing concerning the Sarah Yarborough case. … and going via probably the most kitchen drawers, we discovered … a torn {photograph} … taken from {a magazine} of a girl in a cheerleading outfit.

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

Proof from accused killer Patrick Nicholas’ space proven at trial

Montes downplayed their importance.

David Montes: Each the ones items of proof weren’t particularly odd, given the overall state of his space. … There have been stacks and stacks of newspapers far and wide his space.

Patrick Nicholas did not cringe because the proof was once proven, appearing no emotion during the trial. However Sarah Yarborough’s presence was once felt. Particularly when now-retired Capt. Scott Strathy in moderation unpackaged and displayed Sarah’s clothes that were in garage for over 30 years: her drill staff jacket, sneakers, sweater or even her nylon stockings.

Det. Scott Strathy: This was once like opening a — a time tablet.

Amy Parodi: Rapidly … they have been actual issues. They were not even images … they have been the issues she had on her frame when she died. … you simply, you kind of felt your self collapse …

After 9 lengthy days of testimony, the case went to the jury. It took them simply over an afternoon to succeed in a verdict.

Mary Beth Thome: I used to be shaking. And prefer, simply that — like there was once such a lot adrenaline and such a lot anticipation.

Kristi Gutierrez: The whole lot simply dropped. It was once like — what?


Sarah Yarborough’s family members had waited over 30 years for this second, however then — surprise.

“… now not responsible of the crime of homicide within the first diploma, premeditated …”

Patrick Nicholas was once discovered now not responsible of the primary rate: premeditated first diploma homicide.

Shannon Grant: I bear in mind shedding my head to my fingers … I used to be indignant. I used to be in disbelief.

Amy Parodi: When that first one got here in now not responsible, I closed my eyes.

However there have been different fees, and there was once nonetheless hope of a conviction.

 “… Accountable of the crime of homicide within the 1st diploma”… “responsible … in the second one diploma …”

Patrick Nicholas was once discovered responsible of first-degree homicide and second-degree homicide. The jury dominated each were dedicated with a sexual motivation.

Celia Lee: I bear in mind listening to the circle of relatives at the back of me cry. … And I made eye touch with the jurors and nodded at them, , they were given it. They were given it, proper.

Liberty Barnes: I think so thankful for the ones detectives. For the men, for the former sufferers, for each and every witness who took the stand … so thankful that most of these other folks got here in combination.

Two weeks after Nicholas’ conviction, dozens of people that were desirous about each and every a part of Sarah’s case accrued again on the courthouse for his sentencing listening to. Prosecutors requested the pass judgement on to impose time beyond regulation to consider all of Nicholas’ crimes.

Liberty Barnes: The sentencing listening to was once exhilarating in some way that I by no means anticipated. … it was once one of the vital uncooked human braveness I’ve ever observed in my existence.

Laura Yarborough at Patrick Nicholas’ sentencing listening to.


LAURA YARBOROUGH (in court docket): Sarah’s loss of life left our circle of relatives damaged, and now we have by no means been the similar …

ANDREW YARBOROUGH (in court docket): The ache in my father’s voice over the telephone telling me Sarah was once useless …

Individual after particular person took to the rostrum to mention all that Patrick Nicholas had taken from them.

DREW MILLER (in court docket): Coming face-to-face with natural evil that day has deeply impacted my whole existence …

AMY PARODI (in court docket): He took her existence, and what was once certain to be an excellent long run from her. … In taking Sarah, he took the innocence of each and every one in all us.

SHANNON GRANT (in court docket): Patrick Nicholas is natural evil.

Liberty Barnes: To stand Patrick Nicholas and to mention what they’d been in need of to mention to his face for 30 years. … there was once such a lot energy within the room. It was once electrical.

After which Anne Croney, who wasn’t allowed to testify at Sarah’s trial, began talking.

Liberty Barnes: He simply did like a double take and shuddered when Anne stood up.

Natalie Morales: Like he noticed a ghost?

Liberty Barnes: Sure. 

Anne Croney: I am certain he did not be expecting to ever see my face or listen my title ever once more.

ANNE CRONEY (in court docket):  We depend on a gadget of justice this is designed to give protection to us from predators like Nicholas. And the program failed me. It failed Sarah, her circle of relatives, buddies, and numerous others … I ask the court docket to delight now not make the similar mistake.

After everybody spoke, Pass judgement on Josephine Wiggs addressed the court docket.

JUDGE JOSEPHINE WIGGS (in court docket): Once I take into consideration this deficient kid. This deficient kid. And what she skilled, preventing for her existence.

Mary Beth Thome: Wiggs put her fist at the factor and mentioned, “this was once a kid. … she saved pronouncing that. And all I may just assume was once — that is proper. We have been youngsters.

Nicholas gained a sentence of just about 46 years. For Sarah’s friends and family, the sentence introduced blended feelings.

Mary Beth Thome: I have no idea that that is justice. This can be a verdict, and it’s placing somebody away for one thing that they did, however he were given 30 years … that she did not get.

Laura Yarborough: It makes me mad that he was once loose for such a lot of years … and who is aware of what number of people have been harm right through that point. I — I have no idea that we’re going to ever know. And that will have been have shyed away from.

Forensic genetic family tree helped clear up Sarah’s case, however prosecutors say equivalent generation will have recognized Patrick Nicholas years previous if handiest familial DNA searches have been allowed in Washington State. In a familial DNA seek, an unknown DNA pattern is when put next towards profiles already in CODIS to seek for conceivable members of the family. Patrick Nicholas’ brother were in CODIS for years.

Mary Barbosa: The law simply does not exist on this state to permit that seek …

Natalie Morales: California makes use of it. The United Kingdom, as I perceive has —

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

Natalie Morales: Do you assume it is time to get that regulation modified?

Mary Barbosa: We do.

Celia Lee: We do.

The Yarboroughs agree and hope that Sarah’s case could make a distinction.

Laura Yarborough: I wish to know that different oldsters wouldn’t have to attend 30 years. …

Natalie Morales: What do you hope her legacy is?

Laura Yarborough: Smartly … I feel her legacy is she was once at all times somebody who introduced other folks in combination … she’s introduced the entire other folks in combination that attended the trial … that is the type of particular person she was once.

For Drew Miller, who at 13 discovered Sarah’s frame, the connections made at trial after all introduced him some peace.

Drew Miller: Understanding he is in jail is incredible. However realizing her friends and family is far more necessary to me as a result of that is what’s given me the real therapeutic that I wanted.

Sarah Yarborough

Federal Means Top Faculty yearbook by way of Laura Yarborough

Sarah’s buddies will at all times stay bonded through the previous, and Sarah’s stolen long run.

Kristi Gutierrez: No longer handiest was once she stunning, her soul was once stunning … and the grace and the sweetness that she carried and left with all folks. … We would possibly not disregard her. We can by no means disregard her.

Investigators have now not related Patrick Nicholas to any further crimes, however his DNA is now within the CODIS database.

Produced through Chris Younger Ritzen and Lauren Clark. Greg Fisher is the improvement manufacturer. Michael Loftus is the affiliate manufacturer. Gary Iciness, Joan Adelman and Doreen Schechter are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior manufacturer. Nancy Kramer is the chief editor. Judy Tygard is the chief manufacturer.


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