Chicago man who spent nearly 20 years in prison for murder released after twin brother confesses to crime

Kevin Dugar will live in a transitional facility for 90 days before going home

A convicted felon who spent nearly 20 years in prison for murder was released after his identical twin brother turned himself in for the crime.  

Kevin Dugar was released from Chicago's Cook County jail on Wednesday after a motion for bond was granted. In 2003, Dugar was convicted for a gang-related murder in Chicago. His twin brother, Karl Smith, confessed to being the culprit 10 years later in a letter he wrote to Dugar. 

Kevin Dugar, left, and twin brother Karl Smith. Smith confessed to the murder after Dugar spent more than a decade in prison.

Kevin Dugar, left, and twin brother Karl Smith. Smith confessed to the murder after Dugar spent more than a decade in prison. (Cooks County Jail)

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"I have to get it off my chest before it kills me," Smith wrote in a 2013 letter to his imprisoned brother, as he confessed to the crime. "So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me."

Although a judge denied a retrial for Dugar in 2018, questioning the credibility of the confession, the decision was later reversed by the Court of Appeal. Dugar's attorney, Ron Safer, argued that a jury would determine a different outcome, given the new evidence to the case. 

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After Smith's confession, prosecutors argued that Smith only came clean after he was convicted for his involvement in a 2008 home invasion and armed robbery that left a 6-year-old boy shot in the head. He was already serving a 99-year prison sentence for his participation.

Kevin Dugar is set to live in a residential transitional facility for 90 days as a condition of his release, according to reports from the Chicago Tribute. His attorney says he hopes his client's case will not be retried. 

 "This case is in a very different situation than it was 20 years ago," Safer told the Tribune.