Kevin Duggar spent twenty years behind bars for a crime his identical twin brother, Karl Smith, committed in Chicago, US. Kevin (44) was freed last week Wednesday after his brother confessed to the 2003 murder.
Karl (44), who later changed his surname to his mother’s maiden name, came clean about the night he shot and killed Antwan Carter and wounded Ronnie Bolden in a 2016 letter. He claims to have found religion and could not live with the fact that Kevin was wrongfully convicted.
On the fateful night, Karl left a party he had thrown to go and buy cannabis with a friend. While on his way, he encountered Antwan and Ronnie, who belonged to a rival gang. Karl opened fire on the two men. He then bought alcohol with his friend, changed clothes and later partied with his twin brother.
When his brother was questioned by police, Kevin didn’t speak up as he assumed the police wouldn’t arrest Kevin. Karl never said a word even as his brother served time.
In a photo lineup that didn't feature Kevin, Ronnie was the one who recognized Kevin as the gunman. Monique Boykins, an eyewitness, said Kevin killed Antwan at first, but subsequently claimed Ronnie directed her to say so. During the trial, she later withdrew her testimony. Kevin was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 54 years in prison in 2005.
Karl is currently serving a 99-year sentence for participating in a 2008 break-in where a 6-year-old was shot in the head.
The twins were doing time at separate prisons. Separation was new to them as they were very close. As children, they wore matching outfits until grade 8, joined a gang, and sold drugs. They went as far as impersonating each other and even shared the street name ‘Twin’.
"We was acting as one. Where I was, he was, acting like each other. He pretended to be me, and I pretended to be him." (sic) Karl said during a court hearing.
Kevin was shocked when he received the letter. He took time to respond and later directed Karl to his lawyer.
In 2018 a judge ruled that Kevin would not get another trial as she believed Karl was not credible.
Around the time of his confession, Karl tried to appeal his own sentence, which was denied.
Prosecutors believe he's not being honest about his brother commmitng the murder as he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Center on Wrongful Convictions, a non-profit organisation that fights for those who are wrongfully convicted, appealed Kevin’s case. A judge ruled in his favour.
For now, Kevin is a free man, but his defence hopes he doesn't have to go through another trial as he may go back to prison.
“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, Kevin’s lawyer, told the New York Post.
Sources: ITV.COM, CHICAGOTRIBUNE.COM, NYPOST.COM, DAILYMAIL.COM