A man convicted in a rape and murder at a University of Alaska Fairbanks dormitory that wentwas sentenced to 75 years in prison in Alaska. , of Auburn, Maine, declined to address the courtroom before the just imposed the sentence Monday.
The killing of 20-year-oldin 1993 stymied investigators until a DNA match using genetic genealogy tracing led them to Downs, who was in 2019 in Maine. Downs was a UAF freshman in 1993 and lived in the dorm where Sergie was found dead.
The defense contended any sentence greater than 20 years would be a life sentence because of Downs' health. He exceeds 400 pounds and has high blood pressure, his attorney said.
Downs, 48, will be eligible for discretionary parole after 25 years, the Sun Journal newspaper reported.
Prosecutors said Downs showed no remorse. Sergie was sexually assaulted, shot in the head and stabbed multiple times, officials said.
Sergie was a former UAF student but was not enrolled when she went to stay with a friend who lived in the dorm. She was last seen when she left to smoke a cigarette and her friend suggested she smoke near exhaust vents in the women's shower room to avoid the cold outside, the court papers said.
Janitors found Sergie's body in a bathtub in the shower room on the afternoon of April 26, 1993.
Downs didn't testify in his trial and he was convicted in February.
After Downs was found guilty, Sergie's brother, Alexie, told KTUU-TV the case had taken a toll on the family over the years. Their mother passed away in 2021, after Downs had been arrested but before the trial.
"On special occasions, she'd just burst out crying for a little bit," said Alexie Sergie. "And she'd start a prayer and start praying. ... I said to myself, you know, one of these days they'll find the guy, they will find him. Nobody can hide for so long."
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