Seven years ago, David Koschman died a after brawl in which he was punched out by Richard J. Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. No charges have been brought against Vanecko; the investigation has the earmarks of a cover-up.
Now David's mother, Nanci, has filed papers with Chief Cook County Criminal Courts Judge Paul Biebel Jr. to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether Vanecko should be charge in her son's death. She also asks that the special prosecutor investigate any possible cover-up in this heater case. The move would by-pass the Cook County State's Attorney's office, for obvious reasons that Biebel would have a hard time ignoring.
The Sun-Times has been hot on this story for a long time now, and deserves another Pulitzer Prize for its determined campaign for justice. Here's the background on the case, from the Sun-Times story:
David Koschman lived with his mother in Mount Prospect. The part-time college student died on May 6, 2004, of brain injuries that the Cook County medical examiner’s office said resulted from the punch he took on Division Street near Dearborn Street. Koschman was 21.
His death was listed by the police as an open and unsolved homicide until early this year. That’s when detectives with the Chicago Police Department, prompted by a Chicago Sun-Times request to examine their files on Koschman’s death, re-examined the case.
In the end, they closed it without seeking criminal charges or consulting with prosecutors. But, for the first time, they identified Vanecko, now 37, as the man who hit Koschman.
A Sun-Times investigation uncovered discrepancies with the police department’s findings in the case and revealed that Vanecko took off with a friend and hopped in a taxi after punching Koschman. It also revealed that prosecutors couldn’t find their files on the case, even though they were involved in deciding not to file criminal charges.
Koschman’s mother said she decided to ask for a special prosecutor as a result of the Sun-Times stories, which also reported that Richard Devine — a close friend of the Daley family who was state’s attorney at the time of Koschman’s death, as well as the boss of the current state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez — now represents one of Vanecko’s brothers in an unrelated civil lawsuit over the investment of city pension funds.
Here is a copy of her petition.