A 44-year-old man let his twin brother serve 20 years in jail for the murder he committed before he confessed that he was the killer.
It was in 2003 when Kevin Dugar was convicted of a gang-related murder and sentenced to more than 50 years in jail.
In 2013, his twin brother Karl Smith wrote to him in jail and confessed that it was him who committed the crime.
“I have to get it off my chest before it kills me. So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me,” Smith wrote. He then signed a sworn statement confessing to his crime.
In 2016, Smith told a judge: “I’m here to confess to a crime I committed that he (Dugar) was wrongly accused of.”
He revealed that he didn’t say anything during Dugar’s trial as he thought he would not be convicted.
Even though he already confessed, Dugar was refused a retrial as the confession came while Smith was serving a 99-year sentence.
Smith was convicted after a burglary ended in a 6-year-old child being shot. The child survived but Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala told a hearing in 2018 that Smith had ‘nothing to lose’ due to his lengthy sentence.
A presiding judge deemed Smith’s confession not credible but the brothers’ mother, Judy Drugar, said Smith ‘wouldn’t lie about that.’
The decision to refuse the retrial was then appealed by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.
After a re-examination, Dugar was finally released from Cook County Jail.
“He is overjoyed to be free but 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,” his attorney, Ronald Safer, said.
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