No New Indictments In Koschman Death Case
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The grand jury looking into the conduct of police and prosecutors in a case involving a nephew of former Mayor Daley has ended its work – and no new indictments will be issued.
Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko was indicted nearly 10 months ago in the 2004 death of David Koschman.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb’s office said on Thursday that the statute of limitations has expired for any additional charges in the case.
Vanecko awaits trial on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Early on the morning of April 25, 2004, the 21-year-old Koschman reportedly had a confrontation with Vanecko outside a bar in the Rush and Division Street nightclub district.
The quarrel allegedly prompted Vanecko to punch or push Koschman, who hit his head on the ground and died 12 days later.
Investigators initially determined the 6’3″, 230 pound Vanecko punched the 5’5″, 140 pound Koschman in self-defense. But in April, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb as a special prosecutor to re-investigate the case, after the Koschman family and others criticized the police handling of the case.
The Koschman family and other critics of the original investigation have said they believe police and prosecutors might have decided not to charge Vanecko because he is Daley’s nephew. Those allegations were brought to light by an investigative series published in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Vanecko has denied any wrongdoing.
Attorneys representing the Koschman family were disappointed by the finding s of the special prosecutor.
“If there was criminality and it is going to go unpunished because of the passage of time that is deeply disappointing,” said Attorney Locke Bowman.
Flint Taylor says the expiration of the statute of limitations essentially allows a cover-up to go unpunished.
“There is so much power within the people who run government to cover up for long periods of time and it makes meaningless the statute of limitations,” said Taylor.
But he says the lack of indictments from the special prosecutor’ s more than year-long investigation shouldn’t be construed as a declaration of innocence.
“This does not mean exoneration. It means the opposite to us,” said Taylor.
As part of the today’s announcement the special prosecutors more than 150 page report will remain sealed until after RJ Vanecko is tried for involuntary manslaughter.
Special prosecutor Webb declined to indict anyone in connection with a 2011 re-investigation of the case presided over by the Cook County State’s Attorney.
Anita Alvarez said in a statement said she was pleased with prosecutor webs decision.