Report: Man confesses to murder for which twin has long been imprisoned

Kevin Dugar, left, and twin brother Karl Smith  

Illinois Department of Corrections

CHICAGO -- The identical twin brother of an Illinois man who has been in prison for over a decade has confessed to committing his brother’s crime.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Karl Smith testified in court Thursday and said that he committed the murder his brother, Kevin Dugar, has been in custody for since 2003. Both are now 38.

Smith said the two had impersonated each other since they were young. But Smith said he himself, not his brother, was the one who fired into a group of three people in Chicago in 2003, killing one.

“We was acting as one,” Smith reportedly testified. “Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him.”

A victim who was shot but survived identified the gunman as “Twin,” a street name used by both Smith and Dugar, the paper reports.

Dugar was convicted of first-degree murder in 2005 and was sentenced to 54 years in prison.

Smith said he at first thought his brother would be cleared of the killing and said he “didn’t have the strength” to come forward,” but later became religious in prison and felt he had to clear his conscience.

County prosecutors questioned the admission, telling Judge Vincent Gaughan that Smith only came forward after an appeals court upheld his own conviction for attempted murder. Smith is serving a 99-year prison sentence for his part in a home invasion and armed robbery in 2008 in which a 6-year-old boy was shot in the head.

“He’s got nothing to lose,” Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala said, according to the newspaper.

Dugar’s lawyer, Karen Daniel, says the evidence against her client during his trial was thin, with no physical evidence or confession and only the testimony of two eyewitnesses to link Dugar to the crime, one of whom recanted.

It’s unclear when Gaughan will decide if Dugar should get a new trial.