David Koschman the long road to justice

With electrifying speed, George Zimmerman was indicted, tried, and acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin. The whole shebang took just over one year. Trayvon Martin was killed in February 2012. George Zimmerman, even with the delay in indicting and arresting him, was tried and acquitted eighteen months later (Fifteen months after his indictment).

David Koschman. Family photo.

David Koschman. Family photo.

In Cook County it could take a few years before a serious crime is finally prosecuted at trial. Some cases seem to go on forever.

Take the case of David Koschman. David Koschman died on May 6, 2004, eleven days after being punched in the head by Richard J. Vanecko. Police investigated. A line-up was held on March 20th which included Richard J. Vanecko. No positive identification was made. The investigation remained open.

After the case was reopened due to a news media expose in 2011 prosecutors refused to approve charges. It was determined that Vanecko's actions were in self defense.

It took a Cook County judge to blast the State's Attorney's Office and appoint a special prosecutor to again investigate and get an indictment. Richard Vanecko was indicted in December of 2012. The charge is involuntary manslaughter, in that he "recklessly performed acts which could cause death or great bodily harm". Richard J. Vanecko is free on a $100,000 bond.

Since the indictment, not one peep has been heard about this case. How long will Koschman's mother have to wait for justice for her son? No politicians have come forward to state, "If they had a son, he would look like David Koschman".  Attorney General Eric Holder has not opened a preliminary civil rights investigation of Vanecko into the death of David Koschman. Was Vanecko criminally reckless or was this just an unfortunate accident resulting from drunkenness?

Why is the trial being delayed until 2014?

"My world ended," Nanci Koschman told us months ago. "And I held him in my arms until he died. … It's sad to think that just because of who hit who, it wasn't handled right." (Chicago Tribune)

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Just because of who hit who. Richard J. Vanecko is a member of the Daley family. A former mayor, a Cook County Commissioner, and a former Commerce Secretary and Chief of Staff to President Obama. The Daley's are a political dynasty and political royalty in Chicago. Richard J. Vanecko is their nephew.

Richard M. Daley was the Cook County State's Attorney before he became mayor. Anita Alvarez, the current State's Attorney worked for Daley as a prosecutor.

To be fair, the Koschman case may be more difficult to prove than the Trayvon Martin case. In all criminal cases the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a typical alcohol fueled encounter with a lot of he said, she said by the various witnesses. Their reasoning and credibility will come into play, if and when this case ever sees a courtroom. This happened in 2004. It will not be tried until 2014, if ever.

The facts surrounding the death of Koschman are still murky, even after special prosecutor, Dan Webb, re-investigated. David Koschman was in the Rush Street entertainment area celebrating his twenty first birthday with friends. Richard J. Vanecko was also with friends in the area. The two groups bumped into each other. From that point on, all that is known is profanities were exchanged, a shoving match ensued, and a punch was thrown. A punch that turned into a fatality. Vanecko allegedly fled the scene.

All we know for sure is that Richard J. Vanecko punched David Koschman, causing him to fall and strike his head on the pavement. Beyond that the case is all smoke and mirrors. No one knows for sure who instigated the shoving match or who threw the first punch.

David Koschman was 5'5 and weighed 125 pounds. Richard Vanecko is 6'3 and weighed 230 pounds at the time of the incident. His weight was described as solid muscle. This was a mismatch, to say the least.

David Koschman's mother is living in her suburban home, praying for justice. She has been waiting a long time. Richard J. Vanecko is free, living in California, waiting for his day in court.

How much longer should they have to wait?

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