ANCHORAGE, Alaska Steven Downs has arrived in Alaska and was arraigned in an Anchorage Superior Court today.
James Howaniec, Downs' attorney from Maine appeared telephonically and entered a not guilty plea. The judge set bail at $500,000.
Downs is accused with the sexual assault and murder of Sophie Sergie in 1993.
Sergie was found dead in a bathtub in a University of Alaska Fairbanks dorm with stab and gunshot wounds.
The case was considered an unsolved cold case for many years until troopers used new DNA technology to match unidentified DNA from Sergies body to Downs through genealogy records. Downs was arrested in Maine in February and charged with the crime. In May his attorney in Maine waived extradition, giving Alaska authorities 30 days to take him from Maine.
He was transported to Alaska in federal custody. He first went to New Hampshire and then was transported to a Brooklyn jail before being taken to west to Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas. According to his attorney, he arrived in Alaska late on Monday.
Howaniec said the hard part has been communicating with Downs while he has been being transported. He said the last time he has seen Downs was three months ago.
"He's finally in Alaska after a six month ordeal, and now we feel like we're at least going to be able to begin to have meaningful conversations with him about the evidence in this case," Howaniec said.
We reached out the the Office of Special Prosecution but were unable to reach them.
Downs has an in-person arraignment scheduled in Fairbanks court on August 14 and will be transported to Fairbanks before that date.