Alexia Fernandez
February 02, 2018 01:02 AM

Alexandria Duval, a former yoga teacher accused of killing her identical twin sister Anastasia Duval by intentionally driving off a cliff in Maui in 2016, was found not guilty by a judge on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Duval, 39, forewent a trial by jury and opted to have Hawaii Circuit Judge Peter Cahill decide the case.

Alexandria (born Alison Dadow) survived the 200-foot fall to the rocky shoreline below. But Anastasia (born Ann Dadow), who was sitting in the passenger seat, died at the scene.

During opening statements on Monday, prosecutors alleged the crash was intentional, while Duval’s defense attorney said the crash was “an accident, not murder.”

A motive for the alleged murder remains unclear. Duval has been charged twice over his sister’s death — initial charges against her were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Before the crash, the sisters were seen allegedly “physically fighting within the car.” Another witness allegedly heard “screaming” coming from the SUV, according to Maui Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Emlyn Higa.

Alexandria Duval
AP Photo/Mike Groll

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During the verdict, Cahill said the most important piece of evidence in the case was the pieces of hair that were found in Anastasia’s hands, according to Hawaii News Now.

“That tells me that in the critical period, the deceased pulled her sister’s hair so hard that she could yank it out of her scalp,” he said. He later noted that the hair pulling was likely what had caused Alexandria to lose control of the SUV.

During the trial, Duval’s attorney Birney Bervar said “several eyewitnesses” saw the violent interaction, and will testify “the passenger was violently pulling my client’s hair with both of her hands — pulling it so hard it was jerking her head over the passenger side seat.”

 

The sisters rose to prominence as yoga instructors in Palm Beach, Florida, where they ran multiple locations of their yoga studio starting in 2008.

While they found success initially, the twins later filed for bankruptcy in 2014, owing more than $100,000, according to court documents.

Keith Weiss, a Florida chef who says he dated Anastasia for more than six months before the sisters changed their names, previously told PEOPLE he witnessed explosive fights between the sisters, which would erupt without warning and often in public spaces.

The site of the car crash that killed Anastasia Duval in 2016.
Tom Johnson/AP

“I once got a call from Ann [Anastasia] saying, ‘Get over here now … I’m going to kill her,’” Weiss recalled. “She actually started hitting Alison [Alexandria] with the phone. I heard it … thump, thump, thump. They were both screaming at each other.”

“I get to their apartment and there’s broken glass everywhere from wine bottles and shattered glasses. There was blood everywhere, and the bedroom door was falling off its hinges,” Weiss continued. “Both of them were sitting on the couch when I walked in, and they were like, ‘Hey … how are you doing?’ Alison had a bruise on her face. I asked them if they were okay, and they were like, ‘We’re good, we’re fine. We’re just watching a movie.’ Meanwhile, all around them, it’s total destruction. They seemed to not know they wanted to kill each other just minutes earlier.”

On at least two occasions, the twins began fighting inside Weiss’ car, once when Anastasia was driving, he said. Both of those scuffles were “very intense” and nearly resulted in crashes.

Weiss said Alexandria would tag along on most of his dates with Anastatia. “It almost seemed like Alison was jealous of Ann, who always got the guy,” Weiss explains. “Alison was just a bystander, basically. Alison was always the one who was tagging along.”

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