Man charged in Alaska cold case drops extradition fight

AUBURN, Maine (AP) – A Maine man is no longer fighting extradition to Alaska to face charges that he raped and killed a woman there more than 25 years ago.

Steven Downs of Auburn is charged with assault and murder in the brutal killing of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993. The Sun Journal reports Downs has withdrawn a petition contesting extradition.

Downs’ lawyer, James Howaniec, says Downs maintains his innocence, and will fight the case in Alaska.

The 44-year-old Downs was due in court on Thursday. Then Alaska authorities will have 30 days to retrieve him.

Downs was a student and Sergie was a former student at the time of Sergie’s death. The case went unsolved for years before DNA evidence led to Downs’ arrest in February.

 

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