Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chicago Police Officially Close Homicide Case Without Charging Daley Nephew

Chicago police know who threw a punch 7 years ago that knocked 21-year-old David Hoschman to the pavement, causing a brain injury that would claim his life 11 days later, but they're not talking about it. The department tells the Sun-Times it is closing the open homicide case without bringing charges despite a Sun-Times expose' linking Mayor Richard Daley's nephew to the killing. Police say the punch was thrown in self-defense, but that view is contradicted by virtually all of the eyewitnesses.

For the first time, the Chicago Police said Friday they know who hit David Koschman and knocked him to the ground in a drunken confrontation in the Rush Street area, leading to his death from a brain injury 11 days later — but they’re not telling.

They said they are closing Koschman’s 2004 homicide case without asking the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to charge anyone because they concluded the punch was thrown in self-defense.

Police reports made public Friday black out the name of the man who detectives concluded threw the lone punch at Koschman. But the descriptions they provided and accounts given by witnesses and others to the Chicago Sun-Times make clear it was Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, a nephew of Mayor Daley and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

Vanecko, 36, has refused to speak to the police on the advice of his criminal-defense lawyers, including Terence Gillespie, according to the police.

As Koschman lay unconscious on Division Street at Dearborn, Vanecko and a friend, Craig Denham, ran away, jumped in a cab and headed to a bar, according to the police reports released Friday.
It's interesting that Chicago police decided to reopen and get this case closed so quickly whether the facts supported their conclusions or not just as Mayor Daley is winding down his term as mayor. Given incoming Mayor Rahm Emanuel's close relationship with the Daleys, it is highly unlikely he will order the police to reopen the case once he takes over as mayor.

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