A man was convicted on Thursday for the murder of a young woman in his school. Steven Downs47 years old, is a 18 year old freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993, raped and murdered Sophie SergieProsecutors said the 20-year-old died in a dormitory bathroom on the second floor.
The killer left behind semen, but investigators were unable to identify Downs as a suspect until 2018, when they used genetic pedigree to identify a partial match between his maternal aunt and the suspect’s DNA. commit, follow Alaska’s News Source.
Sergie, who is not a student at the school, stayed with an old roommate at the Bartlett Hall dormitory while she was there doing orthodontic work. The restrooms reported finding her shot with a .22 caliber gun, suffocated, stabbed and shocked by a stun gun in the women’s bathroom.
Prosecutors said Downs attacked Sergie after she was out smoking. The jury was two and a half days to convict him of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault.
Downs provide a cheek swab when the Alaska detectives went down to Maine with a search warrant.
A Fairbanks grand jury today found Steven Downs guilty in the cold-blooded murder and sexual assault of Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska’s Fairbanks dormitory in 1993.https://t.co/N4IOeY9LQ4
– Alaska Public Media News (@AKpublicnews) February 10, 2022
Defense lawyer James Howaniec suggested that semen may have been inside Sergie during consensual sex, according to Alaska Public Radio.
“It wouldn’t be surprising to find semen from a deceased person who had had sex a few days before,” he said, citing testimony from forensic pathologist Dr. Norman Thompsonwho discussed the autopsy.
“We don’t know what Sophie did on Saturday night [April 24],” said defense attorney Howaniec. “We don’t know if she went to the party or not. We don’t know who she went out with. We know she has an eclectic group of friends, some of whom are on the third floor, where Steven Downs lives. “
The defense asserted that Downs was with his girlfriend and other students to watch movies and drink alcohol, but the prosecution asserted that Downs was still able to commit the act.
“Actually what she said was, he went in and out of her room, that he wasn’t there all night, especially in the very early hours of April 26,” said Special Counsel. Jenna Gruenstein. “She knew he wasn’t there because that’s when Bill Wilson tried to kiss her. And she knows for sure, Mr. Downs wasn’t in the room when it happened.”
Howaniec suggested that bystanders had defiled the crime scene in the bathroom before state soldiers arrived.
“The crime scene was damaged,” he said. “About 19 people, including students and possibly the media, arrived at the bathtub scene before Jim and his team arrived.”
He suggests that Downs could never do something like this.
“Some of them like Nick, who became friends for life, paint the picture of a happy, well groomed kid from Maine,” he said. “Nick testified that he could never have understood that Steve could do something like this in a million years.”
The defense admitted that Downs did indeed possess a .22-caliber firearm, but they said he bought it in 2015. Forensic experts testified that they were unable to match the fatal bullet to the suspect’s gun because the ring was too damaged.
Sergie’s brother Alexie Serge said he has forgiven Downs but will not forget. Your mother passed away in 2021.
“On special occasions, she just bursts into tears a little,” says Alexie, according to Alaska’s News Source. “And she will initiate a prayer and begin to pray. … I said to myself, you know, one of these days, they’ll find them, they’ll find him. No one can hide for that long.”
[Image via WMTW screengrab]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/former-alaska-college-student-convicted-after-genetic-genealogy-linked-him-to-murder-of-young-woman-in-1993/ Steven Downs found guilty of murdering Sophie Sergie