Man Who Served Nearly 20 Years for a Murder His Twin Brother Confessed to Is Released From Prison

Illinois Department of Corrections
Kevin Dugar, left, and Karl Smith (right) are twin brothers.Illinois Department of Corrections

It's not clear if the case will go back to trial, but Kevin Dugar's attorneys say it's clear he didn't commit the crime.

The twin brother of a man who allegedly murdered someone, and served almost 20 years in prison for the crime he claims he did not commit, was released Tuesday, nine years after his brother initially confessed that he actually did it. 

Kevin Dugar, 43, spent almost 20 years in prison after a 2003 shooting on Chicago’s North Side, the Chicago Tribune reported. He was convicted of killing a rival gang member and wasn’t set to get out until 2056, but in 2013, his brother Karl Smith, wrote a letter confessing to the crime, according to reports 

“I have to get it off my chest before it kills me,” Smith wrote in the letter, according to the Daily News. “So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me.”

The letter continues; “We was acting as one… Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him.”

Both brothers were known as “twin.”

A judge said he didn’t believe Smith’s confession because he was already serving a 99-year sentence for an armed robbery, and Dugar’s motion was denied in 2018. 

Dugar’s attorneys filed an appeal and he is currently out on bond, although he must remain at a transitional facility for at least 90 days. It’s not clear if the case will be retried, but Dugar’s attorney said he believes a jury would reach a different conclusion if they heard all the new evidence, the New York Daily News reported. 

Before his trial, Dugar was picked out of a lineup that didn’t include his brother. 

"This case is in a very different situation than it was 20 years ago," Ron Safer, Dugar’s attorney, told the Chicago Tribune.

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