A Chicago man who spent nearly 20 years behind bars for murder has finally been released after his twin brother confessed to committing the crime. Kevin Dugar finally left Cook County Jail on January 26 after a judge granted a motion for bond, Fox 32 reports. However, he could still go back to prison for the crime should prosecutors decide to retry him.
Cooks County Jail
- Dugar’s twin brother, Karl Smith, confessed in 2013. While Dugar was convicted in 2003 for a gang-related murder, it wasn’t until 2013 that Smith confessed to the killing in a letter to his brother.
- Smith asked for his brother’s forgiveness. While allowing your twin brother to take a murder rap for you isn’t something anyone would easily forgive, Smith hoped Dugar would make an exception. “I have to get it off my chest before it kills me,” he wrote to his brother in jail. “So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me.”
- It took five years for there to be any movement on the case. It wasn’t until 2018 that a judge made a ruling on Dugar’s request for a retrial. However, it wasn’t good news. The judge denied the request, claiming that the confession might not be credible. Thankfully, the Court of Appeal overturned that judge’s decision after Dugar’s attorney, Ron Safer, argued that a jury would never convict Dugar given Smith’s confession.
- Prosecutors fought to keep Dugar behind bars. They claimed that Smith only confessed to the killing after he’d been convicted for a 2008 robbery and home invasion that saw a 6-year-old boy get shot in the head. Given that Smith was sentenced to 99 years in prison and would never get out, there was no reason for Smith not to confess and try to free his brother. However, the court ultimately disagreed.
- Dugar’s release is conditional, of course. While many would assume he’s not free to live life as normal, that’s not actually the case. He’s only free on bond and as part of his release, he’ll need to live in a residential transitional facility for three months. His attorney is hopeful that Dugar won’t face another trial, but nothing is certain at this time.