After three days of testimony, Judge Peter Cahill handed down his ruling in Maui district court Thursday.
Alexandria Duval was found not guilty. She had been accused of intentionally killing her twin sister by driving off a cliff along Hana Highway in 2016.
Witnesses testified they saw the twins violently fighting inside their SUV and the passenger, Anastasia, was yanking Alexandria's hair.
“Foot comes off the gas completely, then back on. then off then back on,” said Duval’s attorney Birney Bervar during closing arguments. “That’s not someone flooring it with an intent to kill. That's somebody trying to get their foot on the break and missing. Why are they missing? They’re getting their head yanked.”
Deputy prosecutor Emlyn Higa argued steering wheel evidence proved Alexandria purposely drove the car off the cliff.
“The state would submit that given the low values and change is not consistent with two equally matched people fighting over the steering wheel,” Higa said. “If they were fighting over the wheel, there would be indications of that.”
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 car to plummet of the cliff.
“The critical part is that it was the passenger at the critical moment of this case that was pulling the defendant’s hair,” Judge Cahil said.
Duval was seen weeping during the verdict, but remained calm.