Twin acquitted of murdering twin in disputed Maui cliff crash
05/09/2018 4:53 pm PDT
On the island paradise of Maui, Crime Watch Daily has all-new details on a story that made headlines around the world. Two men who knew the Duval twins intimately are revealing all about the car crash that changed things forever.
These are not your typical twins. They went from driving matching Porsches in West Palm Beach, Florida to driving off a cliff in Maui. What happened in between was a toxic trip into darkness.
Alexandria and Anastasia Duval were 37-year-old identical twin sisters who reportedly did everything together. Not only the fun, but the ferocious. They get into nasty fights, they pull each other's hair, they hit each other.
"For them, they have to be with each other," said Maui Police Det.-Sgt. Gordon Sagun Jr. "They cannot be separated."
Anastasia's ex-boyfriend Jeffrie Hall says despite the twins' regular disagreements, they were almost like one soul in two bodies.
"In between the fighting they were like normal sisters," Hall tells Crime Watch Daily. "They would like finish each other's sentences and know what the other one was looking for before the other one even said anything."
In high school they were cheerleading twins, and as adults they became the yoga twins. They lived in a luxury high-rise apartment in West Palm Beach, Florida. And "Twin Power Yoga" was featured on a local news station.
But in West Palm Beach, Alexandria and Anastasia were known by different names: Alison and Ann Dadow.
"Twin Power Yoga" generated so much buzz that Hollywood came calling. A producer approached the twins about a reality show.
But, Det. Gordon Sagun Jr. says, when the show fizzled, the twins were suddenly in over their financial heads and they flaked on the bills.
"They didn't pay their employees, they didn't refund their clients, they just got up and left," said Sagun.
The twins packed up and moved to Park City, Utah.
"When they went to Utah they actually changed their names to Alexandria and Anastasia," said Det. Sagun.
Sagun says the twins brought something else with them to Utah: a drinking problem.
"They were contacted by a Utah police department out there for some kind of another disorderly type of call," said Sagun. "It was body camera footage from Utah officers, just seeing the way they were acting. It looks like one of them is intoxicated. Basically they were being very disorderly."
After that incident they moved to the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Maui. That's where Anastasia met cab driver Jeffrie Hall.
"I got a call from the police that somebody needed a ride from a hotel," said Hall. "The cops were standing by her and like escorting her out and she said she needed a ride to Hana, so I'm like 'OK, sure I can do that.'"
Jeffrie Hall says after that long drive they started dating. But he says Anastasia's drinking bouts were epic. He even videotaped her during what he claims was a two-day bender.
"Never take a picture of me again."
"You gonna kill me?"
"Yeah, I kill you."
"Two Champagne bottles today, not to mention, the two -- "
"Oh, where's your Bacardi rum?"
"I kind of made the video to protect myself, but to show Anastasia, and actually the way she acts," said Hall.
Not long after that, Hall and Anastasia broke up. She soon found a new boyfriend named Federico Bailey.
"When I first met Anastasia, I was amazed, she appeared out of nowhere," Bailey tells Crime Watch Daily.
Did you ever see the two of them fight and pull hair?
"Yeah," said Bailey. "Actually the first day that I met Alexandria they began fighting. More like punches, elbows, and they struck each other like they wanted to hurt each other."
One day Federico Bailey and Anastasia left their house in Haiku to camp out in an isolated area of Maui way past Hana Town.
"Federico and Anastasia went to Costco to go buy some camping equipment, but for some unknown reason they had Alexandria's credit card. So they ended up leaving, they went back to Haiku, and this time Alexandria kind of forced her way to go camping with them," said Det. Sagun.
Now all three take the treacherous Hana Highway to get to the campsite.
"She began breaking the rules," said Bailey. "She brought wine to the camping trip when I was trying to keep them off the wine."
You didn't want Alexandria on this trip, right?
"I personally did not really care for her to be there on the trip, no," Bailey tells Crime Watch Daily. "Anastasia did not want her sister on the trip."
Bailey says when he went to use the bathroom, the twins had disappeared.
"And I didn't see them again," said Bailey.
And it was about to become clear that the twins had left the camp once again in a bitter sister battle. Alexandria was at the wheel when she and Anastasia were driving back toward Hana Town.
"The driver was swearing and there was screaming from another girl," Lawrence Lau, who witnessed the incident, tells Crime Watch Daily.
Lau says he was behind the twins on the very narrow portion of the Hana road. The fight was about to go from bad to worse.
"We could see arms pulling her, pulling her hair and her head was yanking and jerking like this," said Lau.
Lau says he saw the twins pull over into one of the turnouts.
"The driver kind of turned to this side and was fighting the girl off in this manner," said Lau. "She put it into gear and stomped on the gas."
Then, in a crazy chaotic second, the SUV plunges 200 feet with the terrified twins inside.
"All of a sudden I heard this 'boom,'" eyewitness Virginia Timbal tells Crime Watch Daily.
Timbal was at her flower shop when she heard the chilling sound of certain death.
"It just went down the rock, and 'boom,' it's like a bomb," said Timbal.
When Maui Police Sgt. Lawrence Becraft got to the accident scene, he was shocked.
"It landed on its rear end. Almost perpendicular, so its front license plate would have been up to the sky," said Sgt. Becraft.
In a breathtaking rescue attempt, a helicopter lowers first-responders down to the crash scene. But only one twin was airlifted to a hospital. The other was taken to the morgue.
Alexandria and Anastasia Duval drove off a steep cliff in Maui, landing on the rocky shore 200 feet below.
Maui Police Officer Ian Custer was one of the first on the scene.
"Maybe 10 feet more to the right and it would have been in the water," said Custer.
Anastasia died. Alexandria, who was driving, was uninjured.
"She didn't say a word to us, she refused to talk to us, actually," said Custer.
Alexandria was airlifted to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Maui Police Officer Justin Mauliola rushed there hoping she would open up about what happened.
"She didn't really want to say much to us at the hospital, she remained pretty defensive on questions," said Mauliola. "Her initial reaction to us coming was Why are we there. She seemed pretty disconnected from the whole scenario."
Did she ask about her sister?
"We ended up having to tell her what happened to her sister because she refused to answer any more questions from us," said Mauliola. "I remember her just having a real blank look on her face. It was actually pretty bizarre from the normal, her face, just a blank stare."
And what Mauliola says was even more bizarre was the reaction of the twins' father to the death of his daughter.
"His first words to me were, 'If anyone should have died, it was that bitch Alexandria," said Mauliola.
But that's the twin who survived.
"Correct," said Mauliola.
So in other words, he's saying the wrong daughter survived.
"That's the way we took it, yeah," said Mauliola.
At the hospital police took blood samples from Alexandria.
"Her blood results came back that she was three times over the legal limit here in this state," said Mauliola.
Because Alexandria and Anastasia were identical twins, the cops needed a positive identification to make certain that it really was Alexandria who survived the crash.
The Maui cops went to Alexandria's house in nearby Haiku. Her current boyfriend Lonnie Dickerson answered the door.
"One of the things that stuck out to me when we got into the house was there was a pretty good size, pretty large picture of these twins standing side by side," said Mauliola. "It just didn't sit right, it didn't seem right to me, it seemed very weird. I recognized just 'cause we had seen her, I'd seen her at the hospital, I knew one of them was her, I couldn't tell you exactly which was which."
Cops asked the boyfriend to come to the hospital to positively identify Alexandria.
When you said that they went off the cliff, and one of them is dead, was he shocked? Did he show emotion?
"There really was no emotion, he kind of just stood there and stared at us," said Mauliola. "It was bizarre, it really was."
And while all this was playing out, Anastasia's boyfriend Federico Bailey was still back at the remote campsite wondering why the twins hadn't returned.
"I ended up sleeping in the tent that night by myself, and I waited for them, they didn't come back that night, and so in the morning I decided to hitch a ride to Hana," Bailey said. "I stopped up at a friend's house, and he said 'I'm sorry but one of them died, there was a wreck and one of them died,' and I just couldn't believe my ears."
And cops couldn't believe their ears either when they soon heard what Bailey tells them.
"He shared basically that he could see this coming," said Maui Det. Gordon Sagun Jr. "Anastasia's saying that 'Oh, Alexandria is going to kill me.'"
Federico Bailey gives police his version of events that led up to the crash.
"Seven days prior to the death, Alexandria informed me that she was going to kill her sister," said Bailey. "And then she said it again, but she said it in a different way, she said 'I killed my sister,' as though it had already happened."
But why would she want to kill her sister?
"Well she didn't really say why she wanted to kill her," said Bailey.
Do you have any suspicions?
"Well, there was a lot of jealousy there between the two of them," said Bailey. "Even though they were listed as identical twins, they didn't see themselves as identical twins, and they actually resented the idea."
Bailey further claims he heard Alexandria make a chilling comment to Anastasia. Was Alexandria planning a suicide mission?
"She said to her, 'Don't forget, we're leaving the planet on the 30th,'" said Bailey. "I immediately suspected that they were planning on doing suicide."
When Maui Police got the call about the crash on the steep cliffs of Hana, patrol officer Ian Custer knew it would be deadly.
"The waves were crashing and we were getting wet. I destroyed my Taser and some other weapons," Custer tells Crime Watch Daily.
In the mangled SUV, behind the exploded airbags, Custer finds Anastasia's bloodied body, dead from the sheer trauma of plunging 200 feet to the rocky shore below. In a sun visor and clutched in Anastasia's cold hand were strands of blonde hair -- presumably her twin sister Alexandria's.
"One person is pulling the hair, there is screaming going on, they're driving very erratic, high-speed, low-speed, swerving all over the road," said Maui Police Sgt. Lawrence Becraft.
Maui accident investigator Sgt. Lawrence Becraft went back to the crash scene with Crime Watch Daily. There's since been a concrete barrier erected. Becraft takes us through his theory of what happened.
The first thing Becraft does is look for tire marks on the road.
"There were two sets, there was one on the left, one on the right," said Sgt. Becraft. "I saw these marks, and the normal way of doing an investigation is you start from the vehicle and you work your way back. But in this case I couldn't do that because the vehicle is over the cliff. I saw these two marks and these marks are unique, very unique. When I saw these, they are not braking. These were yaw marks."
Becraft says "yaw marks" are curved marks that show the driver made a very sharp turn.
"Toward the ocean," said Becraft. "As I got closer to this dirt area, all in this area over here, you could see that this debris had been shot out. So these, not only was it a yaw mark, it was also accelerating, that tire was spinning, so as it approached this soft area, the soft gravel, it shot it out onto the roadway. You could see the marks were marks induced by steering, it was over-steering, the vehicle could not steer any further than what it was."
Then Becraft recovers the car's "black box." Just like airplane, newer cars have data recorders that document what was going on during the final seconds of a crash.
"It gave me that there was a 100-percent acceleration. I believe it was up to three seconds prior to collision," said Becraft. "There was no braking. No braking."
If you're driving and you're turning this way and the ocean is right there, how do you not hit the brakes?
"You don't hit the brakes if you want to go off the cliff," said Becraft.
How did Alexandria survive while Anastasia died? According to Sgt. Becraft, it's simple.
"The reason why she survived is that she's in a compartment. She's behind the steering wheel, the airbag deploys, it keeps her in the seat," said Becraft. "Anastasia was not contained in that. Her area is bigger, she also had an airbag in front of her, side-curtain airbags, and airbags coming out from the seat. She was bouncing around in that area."
Isn't it possible that it was just really bad luck, that of all the places for this to go over, it went over the part where there was no wall?
"No," said Becraft. "This was intentional. There was no luck involved. This was not an accident, this was not a traffic crash. This was a criminal act."
A criminal act is what Maui Police are calling the plunging cliff crash.
Detective-Sergeant Gordon Sagun Jr. says the evidence shows Alexandria purposely crashed the car in a murder-suicide attempt.
Is it possible that they were just in a fit and they were arguing and she lost her mind and it created this horrible tragic situation?
"It could be. But I still believe it was very intentional, that she definitely drove that vehicle off that cliff to kill both herself and her sister," said Sagun.
But some have suggested Anastasia's pulling Alexandria's hair may have led to the dramatic steering-wheel turn and fatal plunge.
So to test that theory, and others, the police re-enact what might have happened in the seconds before the car went over the cliff.
"The things we wanted to do was disprove the theories, that one, the hair-pulling," said Justin Mauliola. "We're trying to disprove that the passenger caused this whole incident. What we knew at this point was that the wheel was turned to the left 288 degrees, we knew that it had to be done in one second."
The Vehicle Homicide Unit places colored masking tape on the steering wheel to represent a 288-degree turn, which is what the black-box recorder showed.
"You can actually turn the steering wheel 288 degrees within a second, so we're just trying to prove that it could be done," said Mauliola.
The officers run through different scenarios.
What do you believe was the intent of the driver?
"What the intent of the driver just from our investigation showed is that she had definitely intended to drive that car off the cliff at that point," said Mauliola.
Maui Police Sgt. Lawrence Becraft says the evidence shows Alexandria Duval purposely plunged off the peak, killing her twin sister Anastasia.
So you don't think that it's possibly just coincidence that this is where they went off the cliff off the road?
"Absolutely not. Take a look behind us. It's basically a straight roadway," said Becraft. "This was calculated. She knew exactly where she was going off."
Investigators say the circumstantial evidence was piling as high as the 200-foot cliffs on the northeast shore of Maui. The hair-pulling fight. The tire marks on the road. And the data from the car's black box. It all adds up, cops say, to a murder-suicide attempt.
What do you think the motive was?
"I believe that Alexandria did not want to lose her sister Anastasia because the plan was that Anastasia and Federico were going to move, they're going to start a business on another island, and I believe that Alexandria did not want that to happen, that she was not gonna lose her sister to anybody, and she potentially drove off that cliff to stop that," said Sagun.
Police charge Alexandria with second-degree murder. They go to her house to make the arrest.
"Everything was gone. It was empty," said Justin Mauliola. "The house was empty, and at that point we knew she was making moves to leave."
"The only way off our islands: either plane or boat," said Gordon Sagun Jr. "So more than likely if she's going to go back to the mainland it's gonna be plane."
Cops quickly learn Alexandria is booked on a flight for the mainland, so they make a mad rush to the Maui airport.
"Something happens to the plane, I can't remember, I think it was mechanical difficulties, so the plane was grounded," said Sagun. "What we found out was that she was staying in a hotel near our airport, and sure enough she was there, and we arrested her."
Alexandria pleads not guilty. At her preliminary hearing she's wearing an orange jumpsuit and a sling on her broken arm.
After the evidence is presented, the judge makes a surprising decision.
"He basically states that we don't have enough probable cause to hold her for the murder charge, and releases her," said Sagun.
The murder charge was dismissed. Alexandria now books a flight to New York state. But while she's there, there's another legal shocker: the Maui County grand jury indicts her.
"She wasn't attempting to evade detection or anything, she had no idea she had been indicted," said Alexandria's attorney Terence Kindlon.
New York cops arrest Alexandria, her second arrest for the alleged crime. The indictment charges her with murder in the second-degree.
And now in a yellow jumpsuit, her hands cuffed, she's pleading not guilty for the second time.
"She left Hawaii to come back to the States to grieve, not to escape from justice, and after she left, it appears that the district attorney out there in Hawaii, who is familiar with that principle, which is that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich," said Terence Kindlon.
You went for a murder charge, but why didn't you also add perhaps other charges, like reckless driving, drunken driving?
"Because it wasn't reckless driving or drunk driving," said Maui County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Emlyn Higa. "The evidence was compelling that the SUV was driven intentionally over the cliff, so that made it murder. Murder being defined in Hawaii as causing the death of another person intentionally or knowingly."
Now the woman accused of getting into hair-pulling fights with her twin sister is in a fight for her freedom. She returns to Maui as her sensational murder trial begins.
Alexandria's defense attorney said it was actually Anastasia who caused the accident. He blames it on the hair-pulling.
Lawrence Lau, the Boy Scout chaperone who claims he saw it all go down, took the witness stand and described the chilling final seconds before the car tumbled off the cliff.
But the courtroom had plenty of drama, especially a moment that raised everyone's eyebrows.
"After I learned that Anastasia had died, and I saw Alexandria, I gave her a shower, I washed her hair, and sat down after that," said Federico Bailey on the stand.
Bailey says after his girlfriend Anastasia died, he gave a shower to twin sister Alexandria. He then testified about some strange behavior.
"She put on all of Alexandria's, uh, Anastasia's clothes. She put on a dress of Anastasia's, and started to like dressing like her," said Bailey on the stand.
"Did you question her about wearing Ana's clothes?"
"No. When I saw her in Anastasia's dress it was disturbing. Seeing Anastasia, Alexandria in Anastasia in the clothes she was wearing, it was kind of hard to distinguish them."
But the defense put up a strong fight and compelling evidence. Defense expert Wayne Slagle, an accident reconstructionist, testified that the data from the black box showed that Alexandria didn't intentionally drive off that cliff.
"In your opinion, is this consistent with a person who is intent on intentionally driving off the cliff?"
"Based on the steering chart I put up there, no," said Slagle. "There was a lot of jerking going on with the steering wheel going on in here, and that's not consistent."
Alexandria chose a bench trial, meaning the judge would decide the outcome.
"The defendant lost control of the vehicle, and maybe she did input the left turn. She may have done that. But that's as a result of the evidence that shows her hair was being pulled, and whatever happened, happened," the judge said. "She wasn't responsible for that. The court will enter a judgment of acquittal. The defendant is discharged."
Not guilty -- Alexandria is free.
Were you disappointed that the judge didn't find her guilty of murder?
"Yes," said prosecutor Emlyn Higa. "And obviously I disagree."
Does that mean that you believe she got away with murder?
"Well that's the fact," said Higa. "She got away with murder."
"I've forgiven Alexandria," said Federico Bailey.
When she was found not guilty of murder, is that a just verdict?
"No," said Bailey.
Alexandria Duval has always maintained her innocence.
Crime Watch Daily contacted Alexandria's attorney for a comment, but he told us she's not giving any interviews at this time