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Man charged in Alaska cold case killing pleads not guilty

File - In this Aug. 6, 2019, file photo, Steven Downs is led into a courtroom for arraignment in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

AUBURN, Maine (AP) – A Maine man charged in the sexual assault and murder of a woman in Alaska in a long-unsolved cold case has pleaded not guilty.

The Sun Journal reports 44-year-old Steven Downs entered his plea in a courtroom in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Wednesday. The case is expected to be tried in Fairbanks.

Police charged Downs with the killing of Sophie Sergie, a former student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in 1993. Sergie was last seen alive when she left a friend’s dorm room and her body was found by custodial staff in a bathroom the next day.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of Downs in February. His bail has been set at $1 million.

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