A bizarre case involving two twin sisters and the death of one of them played out in the New York courts this week as authorities took the surviving sister into custody on a murder warrant. The alleged homicide took place in another state on May 29 when the two sisters were in a car that crashed into a wall and dropped off a cliff onto the shoreline below. The one sister died in the crash and police charged the surviving sister with the criminal offense of second-degree murder.
Witnesses reportedly saw the defendant in the driver's seat engaging in a hair pulling fight with her sister as they wrestled over the steering wheel before the crash occurred. A judge later dismissed the charges preliminarily, holding there was no probable cause for a murder charge. However, a warrant was apparently issued for the same charge and sent to an Albany home where the defendant was staying.
The defendant was injured in the crash that took place in Hawaii, where the sisters had opened a yoga studio. The judge's original order dismissing the matter seems to have been a correct decision based on the facts thus far reported in the press. The defendant would not typically be guilty of murder if she was engaged in a mutual fight with her sister in which they were both emotionally consumed.
The more appropriate charge, based on the currently known facts, would have been at most for the criminal offense of involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide. However, she may have even had a defense to those lesser charges depending on the circumstances involving that fateful car ride. The inexplicable turn of events in bringing a new arrest is possibly the most puzzling part of this story. It is difficult to see what could have changed to transform the reported facts into another murder charge, but the defendant, now sitting in a New York prison awaiting extradition proceedings, will likely find out soon enough.
Source: cbsnews.com, "Alexandria Duval, Anastasia Duval case: Hawaii woman charged anew in twin's SUV cliff-plunge death", Nov. 14, 2016