Murder trial in Fairbanks cold case starts Monday

A woman poses in a jacket outside.
Sophie Sergie (Photo courtesy of Alaska State Troopers)

A Maine man is set to go on trial for murder in the death and sexual assault of a woman in Alaska nearly three decades ago.

Jury selection in the case of Steven Downs, 47, of Auburn, Maine, is scheduled for Monday in Fairbanks, the Sun Journal reported. Downs was charged in the 1993 death of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie.

Downs lived in a dorm where Sergie’s body was found at University of Alaska Fairbanks, investigators have said. Investigators have said Sergie had been visiting a friend at the dorm when her body was discovered.

Downs has been held at a jail in Alaska pending his trial.

RELATED: Suspect arrested for 25-year-old murder of UAF student

The judge has decided to allow the defense to present evidence against three other men. That is part of an effort by Downs’ defense to raise reasonable doubt about their client’s guilt.

The trial has been delayed since Downs was arrested in February 2019.

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