Kevin Dugar was released last Tuesday from the Cook County Jail in the United States after his twin brother confessed to the crime for which he had been convicted. For now, he will live in a transitional residential facility as a condition of his release.
Dugar’s attorney, Ron Safer, said he hopes Dugar’s case will not be retried. “This case is in a very different situation than it was 20 years ago,” Safer said. “Everybody knows a lot more about it.”
Dugar fue convicted of a gang-related murder in 2003 on the north side of Chicago. A decade later, his brother, Karl Smith, confessed to the murder.
“I have to get it off my chest before it kills me,” Smith wrote in a 2013 letter to his jailed brother.
“So I will come clean and pray that you forgive me.”
In 2016, the man confirmed his words in court. “I am here to confess to a crime that I committed and of which he was wrongly accused”Smith assured.
Prosecutors found Dugar’s confession unreliable. They underlined the fact that Karl was already serving a 99-year prison sentence for his part in a 2008 home invasion and armed robbery that left a 6-year-old boy shot in the head.
“You have nothing to lose” by taking the blame for your brother’s crime, Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala opined. Later, in 2018, a judge ruled that Smith’s account was not credible and refused to hold a new trial.
However, Dugar’s conviction was later overturned by the Court of Appeals, which found it likely that a jury hearing all the evidence would reach a different conclusion than the one that convicted him, according to documentation from Dugar’s attorney.
Dugar was joyous, excited, and “pretty overwhelmed” after his release. “We are hopeful that the state’s attorney will drop the case against Kevin because he is innocent,” Safer said.