AUBURN — Steven H. Downs is no longer fighting extradition to Alaska.

Steven Downs of Auburn appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn in March for an extradition hearing. On Thursday, Downs waived his right to fight extradition. Sun Journal file photo by Russ Dillingham

Downs, 44, of 132 Hillcrest St. in Auburn, is accused of raping and killing a woman in Fairbanks in 1993. He was a college student there at the time.

On Thursday morning in Androscoggin County Superior Court, Downs withdrew his petition contesting extradition. His lawyer, James Howaniec, said Downs is prepared to fight his case in Alaska.

“He’s anxious to move forward with this,” Howaniec said. “He is adamantly contesting these charges.”

Downs’ parents have hired local lawyers Howaniec and Jesse Archer to represent Downs in Alaska. The two have teamed up with a Fairbanks lawyer.

During the 10-minute court proceeding Thursday, Justice Robert Clifford gave Alaskan authorities 30 days to pick up Downs, the full length of time allowed by law. Howaniec said he’s been told Alaska will retrieve Downs about a week and a half after authorities there receive Maine’s paperwork.


Downs has been held without bail at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn since his February arrest on murder and first-degree sexual assault charges brought by a grand jury in Alaska.

Downs’ guilt or innocence was not considered in Maine’s court. That will be for Alaska to decide.

Sophie Sergie, 20, a former student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, was visiting a friend there in April 1993 when her body was found in a bathroom on the second floor of a dorm. She had been shot in the back of the head and stabbed in both eyes, one while she was alive and the other after she was dead, according to court records.

Downs was a student at the university and lived on the third floor of the same dorm. He told investigators he had been with his girlfriend at the time of the crime.

The case went cold for decades until DNA evidence from genealogical database helped police link Downs to the crime through an aunt.

Downs, a 1992 Edward Little High School graduate, worked as a nurse in Maine.

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