Trial of Maine man in Alaska woman’s death underway

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The trial of a Maine man who is charged in the death of a woman at an Alaska university in the 1990s is underway after numerous delays.

Steven Downs, 47, of Auburn, is on trial for charges including murder and sexual assault in the death of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie in 1993. The trial is expected to last six weeks, the Sun Journal reported.

Downs was a freshman at University of Alaska at Fairbanks at the time of Sergie’s death. She had been staying with a friend who was a student at the university when her body was discovered in a bathroom.

A woman who was showering near where Sergie was killed testified on Tuesday that she heard noises that sounded like “firecrackers” and “rustling” at the time, the Sun Journal reported.

Defense attorneys have made the case that Downs’ DNA is the only physical evidence that links him to Sergie. He was arrested nearly three years ago.