Maine man charged in 1993 murder fights extradition to Alaska


    Steven Downs said very little in court Tuesday, but he's fighting the charge that he raped and murdered a young woman inside of a college dorm in Alaska more than 25 years ago. (WGME)

    PORTLAND (WGME) -- A man, charged with murder in a 1993 cold case, is fighting extradition back to Alaska.

    The suspect made his first court appearance Tuesday in Lewiston.

    Steven Downs said very little in court Tuesday, but he's fighting the charge that he raped and murdered a young woman inside of a college dorm in Alaska more than 25 years ago.

    Downs was arrested near his Auburn home on Friday.

    The 44-year-old is being held in Maine as a "fugitive of justice" after investigators in Alaska charged him with the 1993 rape and murder of Sophie Sergie.

    The cold case, cracked open last week after police say DNA evidence linked Downs to the crime.

    Tuesday, Downs was ordered held without bail.

    Through his appointed attorney, he's fighting his extradition.

    He says he doesn't want to go back to Alaska, and says he's been mistakenly charged because of how old the allegation is.

    "My understanding was that there was an Alaskan authority in the courtroom today, so it's possible they were looking to bring him in the next few days but because he didn't waive and his rights are still intact, they can't force him to go back to Alaska they have to follow due process," defense attorney Richard Charest said.

    Downs will be back in court March 18 in Lewiston.

    By then, prosecutors say the state of Alaska will file paper work to officially ask for Downs' extradition.

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