Police error prompts call to toss evidence in Fairbanks killing

An attorney for a former Maine resident who is facing trial for an Alaska killing is trying to exclude evidence due to misinformation from police.

Steven Downs, formerly of Auburn, was charged for the 1993 rape and killing of Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Authorities arrested Downs in Maine in 2019 after the case sat dormant for years.

The second day of hearings in the case took place Tuesday, and Alaska State Police Trooper Randel McPherron said some of the information contained in affidavits used to secure search warrants was false. The Sun Journal reported McPherron said he included the incorrect information in his police report unintentionally.

James Howaniec, the defense attorney for Downs, said evidence should be tossed out because search warrants for his client’s home and DNA were based on the flawed affidavits.