If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.
A Maine man who was convicted of killing and sexually assaulting a woman in Alaska in 1993 is appealing his convictions and sentences.
Steven H. Downs, 48, filed a notice of his appeal Monday with the Alaska Court of Appeals, the Sun Journal reported.
A jury in February found Downs guilty of murder and sexual assault in the death of Sophie Sergie in a dorm on the University of Alaska at Fairbanks campus in 1993. He was later sentenced to 75 years in prison.
Sergie’s death baffled investigators until a DNA match using genetic genealogy tracing led them to Downs, who was arrested in 2019 in Maine. Downs was a freshman at the Fairbanks university in 1993 and lived in the dorm where Sergie was found dead.
On Monday, lawyers for Downs, who represented him during pre-trial hearings, at trial and at sentencing, filed a motion to withdraw as his attorneys. The filing states that Downs lacks the funds to retain legal counsel for his appeals.
Downs is seeking representation from the Alaska Public Defender Agency for his appeals.