Maine man accused of Alaska murder held without bail, awaiting extradition

Steven Downs appeared for a bail hearing on Feb. 19. (Courtesy WCSH)
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LEWISTON, Maine (KTUU) - The suspect in a cold case murder trial, from over 25 years ago, appeared in a Maine courtroom Tuesday.

According to NBC affiliate WCSH in Maine, the judge ordered that the Steven Downs be held without bail. CNN affiliate WGME reports that Downs is fighting his extradition.

Downs, arrested in Auburn, Maine last Friday, will begin the extradition process to bring him back to Alaska to stand trial. He stands accused of the murder and sexual assault of Sophie Sergie, back on April 26, 1993.

The judge ordered Downs to be held without bail until his next court appearance on March 18, WCSH reported Tuesday.

The victim in the case, Sophie Sergie, was 20 years old when she was found brutally murdered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She had flown from her home in Pitkas Point to Fairbanks for an appointment and to visit friends at the University, according to DPS.

Sergie planned to stay at a dormitory at UAF, and fly back on April 26, but she never made it home. Instead, authorities said she was found dead later that afternoon when a janitor discovered her body in a bathtub at Bartlett Hall.

The investigation showed Sergie had been sexually assaulted and murdered. The case progressed thanks to DNA evidence, which positively matched from the murder scene to a swab of Downs' mouth.

Troopers announced the arrest Friday afternoon.

According to court documents, in the decades following the murder, Downs spent time in Arizona, and then returned to Maine to work as a registered nurse.

He was discharged from the Harris House in Livermore Falls for a “totality of substandard performance,” according to the State of Maine Board of Nursing. Downs was issued a warning in 2017, according to WCSH.

Downs’ parents told WGME-TV in Portland, Maine that they are in shock from the news of their son’s arrest.



 
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