© 2022 Maine Public
header.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Steven Downs sentenced to 75 years for 1993 Alaska murder

Steven Downs
Mark Thiessen
/
AP
Steven Downs leaves a courtroom following his arraignment, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. An attorney entered not-guilty pleas for Downs, who is charged in the 1993 sexual assault and murder of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Authorities say DNA linked Downs to the crime. He was arrested in February in Maine and fought extradition to Alaska.

An Auburn man convicted of murdering a native Alaskan woman 30 years ago has been sentenced in Fairbanks Superior Court. The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that 48-year-old Steven Downs was sentenced to 67 years for murder and an additional eight years for sexual assault.

The 1993 killing of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie in a dormitory bathroom at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks was one of the state's most notorious unsolved murders for decades.

Then, in 2018, one of Down's relatives submitted DNA to a testing laboratory and it came back as a random match to DNA found at the scene. Downs had been a freshman at the university at the time of the crime.

During sentencing Monday, the Sun Journal reports that the judge called Downs "brazen and callous" for preying on a random stranger. Downs has maintained his innocence ever since his arrest.