An Illinois man has come forward with a confession seemingly ripped from the pages of a soap opera script: It was he who committed a murder for which his twin brother has been imprisoned for more than a decade.
Karl Smith told a courtroom last week that he, not his twin Kevin Dugar, fatally shot Antwan Carter in 2003.
"I'm here to confess to a crime I committed that he was wrongly accused of," Smith said on the witness stand in a Chicago court Thursday.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Smith testified that he and his brother impersonated each other while dealing drugs as members of a street gang.
"We was acting as one," Smith said. "Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him."
The twins' mother, Judy Dugar, was in the courtroom Thursday and wept as her son testified.
Ronnie Bolden, one of the original witnesses who helped put Kevin Dugar behind bars, identified the shooter to police as "Twin," a name used by both men.
Bolden, who was also wounded in the shooting, chose Dugar out of a lineup that did not include Smith, according to the petition for a new trial submitted by Northwestern University Law School's Center on Wrongful Convictions.
Karen Daniel, an attorney with the center, has argued there was no confession or physical evidence but only the testimony of two eyewitnesses — including one who recanted at trial — that put Dugar away.
Dugar was sentenced to 54 years in prison in 2005. His attorneys are asking for a new trial.
However, Cook County prosecutors aren't convinced Smith is telling truth. That's in part because he is already serving what amounts to a life sentence for an unrelated crime.
"He's got nothing to lose," Assistant State's Attorney Carol Rogala said.
Rogala also told Judge Vincent Gaughan that Smith's confession didn't "fit the independent eyewitness accounts of what happened."
It remains unclear when the judge will rule on whether Dugar will get a new trial.