In his decision, Judge Peter Cahill said he believed the most important evidence in the case had been found in Anastasia's hands.
Authorities said the women were fighting over the steering wheel on a narrow highway before the vehicle plunged over the cliff, killing Anastasia Duval. Anastasia was pronounced dead at the scene. Alexandria was rushed to the hospital badly hurt but survived.
They ran a successful yoga studio with multiple locations in Palm Beach County for several years, but that business collapsed after they signed on for a pricey expansion in anticipation of getting their own reality series that didn't pan out.
Alexandria Duval was driving the vehicle when it plunged off the cliff, killing her twin sister who was in the passenger seat.
Anastasia and Alexandria Duval - born Ann and Alison Dadow - had popular yoga studios in Florida. They moved to Hawaii in 2015 from Utah, according to news reports. As the outlet put it, "Hair-pulling also was involved".
Anastasia's boyfriend Federico Bailey said the twins frequently attacked each other and threw punches as they "fought like soldiers". The duo was reportedly fighting violently in their SUV before the crash.
Authorities said Alexandria was behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer when witnesses saw the sisters arguing on the perilously narrow, twisting route along a scenic stretch of coastline. While its 65 miles long, it takes at least two and a half hours to drive without stopping, across dozens of narrow one-lane bridges, where cars must yield to oncoming traffic or slow to 10 mph around curves where the road meets the cliffs that drop hundreds of feet to the Pacific.
Smith, according to Hawaii News Now, testified that he was forced to swerve out of their way. "The drivers head was being pulled to the side", said another witness, Lawrence Lau.
Defense lawyers portrayed the crash as a tragic accident.
State Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa has suggested that the crash was intentional as evidenced by three factors: no breaking, a hard acceleration and a hard left turn prior to impact. Thats "certainly a reasonable doubt that there was any criminal behavior whatsoever and my client is not guilty".
By the defendant's request, the trial had no jury, instead it was all judge Cahil's call and he ruled that Anastasia caused her own death by pulling her sister's hair while she drove, causing the auto to plummet of the cliff.
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