By Tobias Salinger: An identical twin—not his convicted brother—shot two men, killing one of them in a gang-related Chicago murder in 2003, the twin testified.
Karl Smith and Kevin Dugar, both 38-year-old prison inmates, saw each other for the first time in years Thursday as Smith made an admission that caused his twin and their mother to break into tears, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“I’m here to confess to a crime I committed that he was wrongly accused of,” Smith said. He noted they both went by the street name “Twin” at the time of the March 2003 shooting.
“We was acting as one,” Smith said. “Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him.”
Smith is 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, and Dugar is 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, according to state inmate records. They differ by Smith’s use of their mother’s maiden name, Dugar’s scars from a gunshot wound and their sentences: Dugar’s date of parole is in 2056 and Smith’s is in 2086.
Cook County prosecutors took a skeptical view of Smith’s testimony Thursday, the Tribune reported. The identical twin has been behind bars since 2007 after his arrest and conviction for attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated battery on a child, among other charges.
“He’s got nothing to lose,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala, noting Smith’s testimony also didn’t square with eyewitness accounts.
Yet Dugar’s lawyer, Karen Daniel of Northwestern University law school’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, noted one of the two eyewitnesses recanted at trial. She asked Judge Vincent Gaughan for a new trial in light of Smith’s testimony.
A member of the Black P Stones, a rival gang to Smith and Dugar’s Conservative Vice Lords, identified “Twin” as the gunman who shot him three times and killed another man at Sheridan Rd. and Argyle St. back in March 2003, according to the defense.
The wounded man, Ronnie Bolden, identified Dugar as the gunman out of a lineup that didn’t include his twin brother, a defense filing said. Bolden’s sister, the second witness who implicated him, said during the trial that Bolden had told her to name Dugar as the killer, according to Dugar’s lawyers.
Smith described the shooting in full detail Thursday, saying he left a party he hosted that night to buy marijuana before he ran into the rival gang members. He said he shot one with his .38-caliber gun and the other with his .32-caliber.
Smith admitted he evaded investigators’ requests to question him about the shooting at the time and said he “didn’t have the strength to come forward,” according to the newspaper. He decided to fess up after he found God in prison, he said.
“I have to get it off my chest before it kills me,” Smith wrote to his brother three years ago. “So I’ll just come clean and pray you can forgive me. … I’m the one who and shot and killed those two Black Stones on Sheridan that night.”
Smith signed a sworn confession the following year, and the judge will decide whether Dugar receives a new trial. Judy Dugar, the twins’ mother, told the Tribune it hurt her to hear prosecutors rejecting Smith’s confession.
“He wouldn’t lie about that,” she said. “I hope Kevin will get out. I hope he change his whole life around. He got to.”