The judge ruled Alexandria Duval, 37, be released after prosecutors failed to present enough evidence at a preliminary hearing to support a murder charge, Hawaii News Now reports. Duval’s lawyer said the wreck, which killed Anastasia Duval and critically injured Alexandria Duval, was an accident.
It was unclear whether prosecutors would refile charges. “We will have to see what other evidence we can find by furthering the investigation,” Maui Prosecuting Attorney John Kim told The Associated Press.
Defense attorney Todd Eddins told MauiNow that Duval has been in a “state of shock” since the May 30 crash. She was “elated” about the ruling, the lawyer said.
“This was a tragic accident. It was not a homicide,” Eddins told the publication. “It was not a crime. This judge understood the evidence and we’re just grateful that he got it.”
The fatal crash on Maui’s scenic Hana Highway climaxed the twins’ life stories, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. The twins, whose given names were Allison and Ann Dadow, had operated a successful yoga studio in Palm Beach, Florida, and were “known for their once glamorous lifestyle,” the Palm Beach Post reports.
Later in life, they were plagued by financial and legal troubles in Salt Lake City. They had plans to open another yoga studio in Hawaii.
Witnesses said the twins, who in Hawaii went by the names Alexandria and Anastasia Duval, had been arguing before the Ford Explorer crashed into a wall along the highway and plunged off the cliff, landing on a rocky ledge below.
"I saw a pair of hands jerking the head, pulling the hair [of the driver]," witness Lawrence Lau told KHON2. "There were hands pulling her head down like this, and her head was jerking."
That's when the driver, Alexandria, reportedly accelerated, sending the vehicle off the cliff, according to authorities.
The passenger, Anastasia Duval, was pronounced dead at the scene. Alexandria Duval was airlifted to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.
Duval's release came less than a week after her arrest at Maui's Seaside hotel, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors claimed Duval was planning to flee the state at the time, but her attorney said she was simply attempting to return home for her sister’s funeral.