Man Who Spent 20 Years Behind Bars Freed After Twin Brother Confesses

Photo: Illinois Department of Corrections

A Chicago man walked out of the Cook County Jail Tuesday night (January 25) after spending 20 years behind bars for a murder his twin brother confessed to.

Kevin Dugar was released around 9:30 p.m. after a judge accepted his twin brother Karl Smith's confession to pulling the trigger in a 2003 shooting on the North Side of the city, ABC 7 reported. The shooting left a rival gang member dead and injured another person. Dugar's trial initially rested on eyewitness testimony, which was a big issue given that he has a twin brother.

In 2018, a judge denied Dugar a new trial and ruled that Smith's confession at the time was not credible since he'd been denied an appeal and lost any possibility of being released. Smith initially confessed to the shooting in 2013.

That's when the Northwest Center of Wrongful Convictions stepped in to appeal Dugar's case. A different judge reviewed it, and ruled this week that Dugar should be released.

Ron Safer, an attorney representing Dugar says he hopes there isn't a new trial for his client and that the Cook County State's Attorney's Office reviews the evidence and have the case thrown out all together.

"He is a free man tonight and it's long overdue after 20 long years," Safer said.

Dugar was greeted by family outside of the Cook County jail.

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