The man accused of murdering Sophie Sergie (SUR-ghee) in a university dormitory 26 years ago is being arraigned in Fairbanks on Wednesday. He was handed into Alaska custody last week by Federal Marshals and is now in Fairbanks.
Steven Downs was extradited from Maine, where he was arrested on February 15 of this year, by Maine State Police. He was held in Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, where he lives. then transferred to Federal Custody before arriving in Alaska last week.
Alaska State Troopers Sgt. Charles Inderrieden (In-dur-EE-den) of Judicial Services in Fairbanks, is in charge of prisoner transport.
“He was transported by the Marshal’s Office for the Department of Pubic Safety from Maine to Alaska. His first hearing was for the warrant.”
Downs was given a preliminary arraignment in Anchorage. Maria Bahr of the Office of Special Prosecutions says this is when Downs came into Alaska custody, and bail was set.
“The first arraignment was held in Anchorage, as the rules of criminal procedure required that a prisoner be arraigned within 24 hours of arrival in our jurisdiction. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson granted our bail request for $500,000 cash appearance and for $500,000 cash performance bond, along with standard bail conditions, at the first arraignment."
Downs will get a second arraignment in Fairbanks Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon, on a grand jury indictment. Downs is indicted for Murder in the first degree and sexual assault in the first degree. He is accused of killing 20-year old Sophie Sergie on April 26, 1993, in the Bartlett Hall dormitory where he was an 18-year-old freshman and where she was visiting friends.
According to charging documents, Downs was interviewed briefly by police at the time of the murder but denied any knowledge of what happened. That is also what he told Cold Case investigators who spoke with him in Maine in February. But DNA collected at the murder scene was matched to Downs in 2018 through a genetic ancestry database his aunt contributed to.
Sergie was from the western Alaska village of Pitkas Point. Her mother attended last week’s hearing in Anchorage by telephone.