/  01.27.2022

A man who spent 20 years in prison has been freed after his identical twin brother confessed to the crime.

According to the New York Post, Kevin Dugar was released from the Cook County Jail in Chicago on Tuesday (Jan. 25). “He is overjoyed to be free but is also adjusting to a world that is quite different from the world he left 20 years ago when he was arrested for this crime he did not commit,” Ronald Safer, Dugar’s attorney, told the outlet on Thursday (Jan. 27).

Dugar spent the last two decades behind bars after being convicted of fatally shooting a rival gang member. However, his conviction was questioned once Karl Smith, Dugar’s identical twin brother, came forward in 2016 to confess that he was liable for the deadly shooting.

Two years later, a judge declined to offer Dugar a new trial and ruled that Smith’s confession was not credible. At that time, Smith was serving a 99-year sentence for a home invasion that left a kid shot in the head. He had also been denied an appeal.

The prosecutor who was over the case at the time said Smith had “nothing to lose” and he was suspicious of his admission.

After the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University appealed Dugar’s case, another judge reviewed it. “The Court of Appeals found that there is a strong probability that a jury hearing all of the evidence would likely find Kevin not guilty,” Dugar’s attorney said.

Dugar’s legal team hopes the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will review the evidence and drop his case altogether. “We are hopeful that the State does the right thing and dismisses this case. But if the State persists, we look forward to vindicating Kevin at trial,” the attorney said.

Dugar is currently living in a residential transitional facility as a condition of his release.

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