Maine man convicted in Alaska cold case killing seeks new trial

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 8:12 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (WMTW) - A Maine man convicted earlier this month of the 1993 rape and murder of a woman at an Alaska university is seeing a new trial.

A jury found Steven Downs, 47, of Auburn, guilty of murder and sexual assault in the death of Sophie Sergie when he was a freshman at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1993.

In a new motion, Downs’ attorney argued that prosecutors elicited false testimony about guns Downs owned and claims the Fairbanks jail illegally recorded Downs’ phone calls with attorneys.

Sergie had been visiting friends at UAF, when she was found dead and half-undressed in a women’s bathroom of Down’s co-ed dorm, Bartlett Hall, on April 26, 1993.

The case remained cold until 2018 when genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, of Virginia-based Parabon Nanolabs, connected crime scene DNA to the profile of Downs’ aunt who lived in Vermont.

That lead took Alaska detectives to Downs, who voluntarily submitted his own DNA sample before his arrest in February 2019.

Downs is being held without bail pending sentencing in September. He faces 30 to 99 years in prison.

Copyright 2022 WMTW. All rights reserved.