A yoga instructor was found not guilty on Thursday of killing her twin sister in a fatal car crash in Hawaii.
Judge Peter Cahill acquitted Alexandria Duval of second degree murder in the 2016 death of her sister Anastasia Duval.
Alexandria Duval was driving on a winding highway in Maui with Anastasia in the passenger seat when the SUV plunged 200 feet over a cliff.
Anastasia died at the scene, while Alexandria sustained minor injuries.
While the twins ran a popular yoga studio together and drove matching Porsches, witnesses told the court their relationship was a turbulent one.
Anastasia’s boyfriend Federico Bailey said the twins frequently attacked each other and threw punches as they “fought like soldiers.”
And witnesses who saw the SUV shortly before the crash said the passenger was pulling the driver's hair.
While prosecutors said Alexandria intentionally tried to hurt or kill her twin, the defense argued the crash was a tragic accident.
Wayne Slagle, an accident reconstructionist and engineer who was called to the stand as a defense witness, said, “I think this is consistent with somebody trying to find the brake and not able to do it.”
“It’s not consistent with somebody five seconds before, or even four seconds before, trying to put it to the floor, trying to go over a cliff or rock wall,” he added.
Bailey testified on Tuesday, saying he was on a camping trip with the twins when another one of their violent fights broke out.
The twins disappeared when Bailey was in the bathroom, and he hitchhiked back to his home the morning of May 30, 2016, he said.
Alexandria turned up at the home at around 3:30 p.m. to deliver the news of the crash, but she didn’t have any answers when he inquired about what happened, Bailey testified.
Instead, she put on her deceased sister's dress and wanted him to help wash her hair, Bailey said.
“She was flirting with me, and she was cuddling on me,” he said.
Maui County Prosecuting Attorney J.D. Kim said he was disappointed with the verdict on Thursday.“The facts clearly show it was at least reckless behavior,” he said.
Alexandria left the courtroom without commenting, although her defense attorney told the Maui News, “It’s been an extremely emotional ordeal for her.”
“You can’t imagine losing your twin sister in that kind of catastrophic, tragic accident, then being charged with causing the death of your sister, which she didn’t. She’s extremely relieved,” he added.
- car crashes
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