New York Daily News: By Joseph Wilkinson – A Chicago man whose twin brother confessed to a murder that he was convicted of was released from prison Tuesday night — nine years after the confession.
Kevin Dugar, 43, spent almost 20 years behind bars after the 2003 shooting on Chicago’s North Side, the Chicago Tribune reported. A judge granted his motion for bond late Tuesday.
Dugar was convicted of killing a rival gang member and wasn’t supposed to be eligible for parole until 2056. But in 2013, his brother Karl Smith wrote him a confession letter.
“I have to get it off my chest before it kills me,” Smith wrote. “So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me.”
But a judge didn’t buy it and denied Dugar’s appeal in 2018. The judge said Smith’s confession wasn’t trustworthy because he was already serving a 99-year sentence for being involved in an armed robbery that included a 6-year-old boy getting shot in the head.
Dugar’s attorneys kept appealing, however, and a higher court ruled that a jury would reach a different conclusion if it heard all the new evidence, according to the Tribune. While Dugar is out on bond, he must remain at a transitional facility for at least 90 days.
At earlier hearings, Smith had said that he and his brother were both known as “Twin” on the streets.
“We was acting as one,” Smith said in 2016. “Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him.”
Smith is 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, and Dugar is 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, according to state records. A rival gang member who was injured in the deadly shooting identified the shooter as “Twin,” according to Dugar’s defense team.
Dugar was also picked out of a notoriously unreliable suspect lineup that didn’t even include his brother, and one of the witnesses recanted, Dugar’s attorneys said in 2016.
Cook County prosecutors have not said if they will retry Dugar’s case.