An Illinois main has confessed to a murder that his identical brother was allegedly wrongfully sentenced for.
On Sept. 23, Karl Smith, 38, stood before a courtroom and claimed responsibility for killing a man in 2003. Authorities sentenced his identical twin brother, Kevin Dugar, for the crime, and he has been behind bars ever since, reports Time Magazine.
“I’m here to confess to a crime I committed that he was wrongly accused of,” Smith said as his brother looked on, wiping tears from his eyes.
Smith told the judge he was stopped by police after the killing but identified himself as Dugar and was allowed to leave, according to Chicago Tribune.
"I have to get it off my chest before it kills me," Smith explained. "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."
"The reason I didn't say [expletive] at the time was because I didn't and couldn't find the strength to do so at the time," Smith said.
Dugar’s admission provoked doubt from the prosecutors, who contend Smith is already serving a 99-year prison sentence for a different crime in 2008 in which a 6-year-old boy was shot in the head during a home invasion armed robbery.
Prosecutors say Smith came clean only after an appeals court sustained his conviction in that crime.
“He’s got nothing to lose,” Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Rogala said, according to the newspaper.
Dugar was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2005 and was sentenced to 54 years behind bars.
Smith and Dugar have been impersonating each other since an early age. Growing up, the twins were "one person" who shared socks, shoes and even sandwiches, according to their mother, Judy Dugar.
Even their parents failed to tell them apart, and in court, Smith struggled to identify himself when shown a photo of the two of them.
The two brothers were pretending to be each other in 2003 when Smith said he killed someone when shooting into a group of three people.
“We was acting as one,” Smith testified. “Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him.”
Isaiah Dugar, 68, the brothers' father, died in August from a heart attack, an ending their mother said was accelerated by the pain of seeing both their sons in prison for violent crimes. The couple also had two daughters.
"I hope Kevin will get out. I hope he change his whole life around," cried Judy. "He got to."