Man accused of killing lady present in dorm bathtub in 1993 can current proof about different suspects, choose guidelines

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A Maine man charged in a younger lady’s killing 28 years in the past on the University of Alaska at Fairbanks shall be allowed to current proof about three various suspects at his trial subsequent month. Sophie Sergie, 20, of Pitkas Point, Alaska, was discovered useless in a dorm bathtub on the college in 1993.

Steven Downs, 47, of Auburn, was charged with sexual assault and homicide, and extradited to Alaska, after DNA his aunt submitted to a family tree web site helped match him to DNA from the crime scene.

The trial is because of begin on January 3.

Downs lived within the dorm the place the physique of Sergie was found in 1993. She had been shot within the head with a .22-caliber gun, stabbed within the cheek and eye, struck with a blunt instrument, choked with a ligature, and shocked with a stun gun.

Sophie Sergie

Alaska State Troopers

The Sun Journal newspaper reported that the choose is permitting the protection to current proof in opposition to three different males in an effort to lift cheap doubt about Downs’ guilt.

They embody Downs’ roommate, who was employed by the college as a safety guard and was fired for possession of a gun; a scholar seen leaving the toilet the place the physique was discovered and who allegedly owned a gun; and a person whose deceased sister claimed he’d confessed.

Downs’ protection had sought to current proof in opposition to 16 various suspects in the course of the trial.

Downs and his roommate had been each briefly interviewed in the course of the preliminary investigation, courtroom paperwork mentioned, however they denied having any information of the homicide.

In 2019, investigators interviewed Downs in Maine, the place he lived and was employed as a nurse, however he once more denied involvement, in accordance with the charging paperwork. When Maine State Police confirmed him an image of Sergie, he allegedly mentioned he remembered a lady had been murdered on campus, however denied realizing her.

“I remember the pictures, it’s terrible, poor girl,” he mentioned, in accordance with the paperwork.

Steven H. Downs
Steven H. Downs


He mentioned he believed troopers from Fort Wainwright, a close-by Army barracks, might have been accountable as a result of they had been typically within the dorm. He mentioned if he knew something concerning the homicide he would have been “forthright from the jump” and maintained “I never knew or saw anything to begin with.”

But when investigators obtained a search warrant for Downs’ DNA, in accordance with the charging paperwork, it matched the suspect profile. Downs’ DNA hadn’t come up within the earlier search of the nationwide prison database as a result of he had no earlier arrests, the charging paperwork mentioned.

Erin Donaghue contributed to this report.

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