Man who spent 20 years in prison for crime he didn’t commit released after twin brother confesses
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Featured Image Credit: Illinois Department of Corrections
A Chicago man, who was wrongly jailed for 20 years, was released from prison after his twin brother stepped up and confessed to the murder crime.
Kevin Dugar, aged 44 when released, was convicted of a 2003 murder that involved firing a gun into a group of people, killing one and injuring another.
However, in 2013, Dugar’s identical twin Karl Smith wrote a letter, saying he was the one who fired the weapon.
Smith asked his brother to 'come clean' and to 'pray' for Dugar to forgive him.
"I’m the one who shot and killed those two Black Stones on Sheridan that night. The reason I didn’t say [expletive] at the time was because I didn’t and couldn’t find the strength to do so at the time," the letter read.
Smith said that growing up, the pair acted 'as one'.
"Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me and I pretended to be him," he explained.
After reviewing the letters in 2018, a judge said Smith was not credible and refused to throw out Dugar’s conviction and 54-year prison sentence.
Three years later, the Illinois Court of Appeals overturned that decision, an opinion that led to Dugar’s eventual release in 2022.
Dugar's attorney Ronald Safer told The New York Post how 'overjoyed' his client was to be free.
"But [he] is also adjusting to a world that is quite different from the world he left 20 years ago when he was arrested for this crime he did not commit," he said.
Safer explained: "The Court of Appeals found that there is a strong probability that a jury hearing all of the evidence would likely find Kevin not guilty."
He added: "The judge granted his release pending trial on a signature bond, and he walked out into the open air and breathed his first breaths as a free man in almost 20 years.
"It was gratifying to watch his tears roll down his cheeks and their cheeks before (their tears) froze on their faces because it was about 7 below."
Smith is currently serving a 99-year prison sentence for an armed robbery that took place in 2008.
It resulted in a six-year-old boy being fatally shot.
The brothers have different last names because Smith took his mother’s maiden name.