Monday, December 03, 2012

Daley Nephew Finally Brought To Justice: Sun-Times Gets The Credit

David Koschman
Under relentless pressure and good-ole fashioned investigative journalism by reporters for the Chicago Sun-Times, the thug nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley is finally being brought to justice for killing 21-year old David Koschman during a drunken street brawl that happened more than 8 years ago. Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, appointed as a special prosecutor to re-open the case long ago closed, has charged Richard Vanecko with a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Both men had been drinking on Rush Street with their respective group of friends when a street confrontation between the 6'3", 230-pound Vanecko and the 5'5", 125-pound Koschman ended with Koschman laying on the sidewalk suffering from a severe, irreversible head injury after Vanecko allegedly struck and knocked Koshman to the ground. He died in a Chicago hospital with his mother at his side days later.

The Sun-Times took up the cause of Koschman's mother, Nanci, who publicly championed the need for justice in her son's death, with the noble work and backing of its reporters. Former State's Attorney Richard Devine, who succeeded Richard Daley as the county's top prosecutor, first and Devine's successor, Anita Alvarez, later, had both repeatedly declined to investigate the case. A lengthy investigative series by the Sun-Times into Koschman's death pressured a Cook County judge to order the appointment of a special prosecutor to consider criminal charges in the case based on new evidence uncovered by the Sun-Times, which showed that police and prosecutors had actively ignored evidence and otherwise obstructed the investigation to protect Daley's nephew. In announcing today's indictment, Webb said there was an ongoing investigation of the actions of authorities in blocking action in the case, who had claimed the imposing Vanecko had merely acted in self-defense when he struck Koschman:

Webb’s statement also noted that, “while the grand jury investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Koschman’s death has concluded, the grand jury inquiry of how the authorities handled their investigation into Mr. Koschman’s death continues at a vigorous pace.”
To date, he said, “Thousands of documents have been reviewed, and more than 50 witnesses have been interviewed.”
Webb praised city of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson and his staff, who Webb said “have provided invaluable and continuing assistance in the investigation of this matter.” . . .

At a news conference, a tearful Nanci Koschman said she planned to go to her son’s grave Tuesday to tell him the news so that now he could be “at peace.”
She also said she doesn’t want Vanecko to go to prison. “It would hurt his mother,” she said.
“I’m happy. It makes me feel better,” she said of Vanecko’s indictment. “But it doesn’t bring David back.”
She added: “I’m assuming he won’t go to trial because he knows he did it. It will be on his record.”
“I know [Vanecko] didn’t go out that night to hit David. I wanted it on the record that this man hit my son for no reason.”
The indictment marks a stunning swing in a case that current and former police officials and prosecutors had insisted didn’t merit criminal prosecution.
Police and prosecutors had cited the failure of key witnesses to identify Vanecko as the man who struck Koschman in a police line-up as a reason for not filing charges against him. The former college football lineman had changed his appearance dramatically by shaving his head prior to the line-up. At least two of the witnesses told the Sun-Times that they still believed they had picked Vanecko out in the line-up despite denials by police. Koschman's mother didn't know the identity of the man accused of striking her son until years later when contacted by the Sun-Times. The Sun-Times relates the chronology of events that led a Cook Co. judge to appoint a special prosecutor who announced today's indictment:

On Feb. 28, 2011, the paper published the first in what, over the coming months, would be dozens of stories uncovering problems with the way the case was handled.
The next day, March 1 — six weeks before Daley left office — the police formally closed the case, without seeking charges from Alvarez’s office. They now identified Vanecko for the first time as having punched Koschman in the face but said, without explanation, he’d done so in self-defense.
On March 2, the newspaper reported that Michael Connolly, one of the two bystanders who saw what happened on Division Street back in 2004, said that a statement from Alvarez’s office saying Koschman “was the aggressor and had initiated the physical confrontation” was a “flat-out lie.”
Also, the newly released police reports attributed statements to Koschman’s friends that they told the newspaper they didn’t make.
Acknowledging those discrepancies and under fire for not being able to find any files on the Koschman case from her office’s involvement in 2004, Alvarez asked the Illinois State Police to investigate the police department’s handling of the case. “I think there should be an independent police investigation,” Alvarez said.
At first, the state agency agreed. Then, it got a new boss: Alvarez’s chief deputy, Hiram Grau, who had been a deputy superintendent with the Chicago Police Department at the time of Koschman’s death, in charge of the department’s detectives. And the state police quickly reversed course and declined to get involved.
Meanwhile, Ferguson — the city of Chicago inspector general and a former federal prosecutor — began a separate probe of the way the police handled the Koschman investigation . . .

In December 2011, Nanci Koschman went to court, asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“Had Vanecko not been a member of the powerful Daley family, he would have been charged with the homicide,” she said in a court filing prepared by attorneys Locke E. Bowman and Alexa Van Brunt of Northwestern University Law School’s Roderick MacArthur Justice Center and G. Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office, who agreed to take the case without any fee. “Mr. Vanecko is not entitled to escape prosecution simply because he is the nephew of former Mayor Daley.”
The petition went on to say: “Despite . . . witness statements, the 2004 Chicago police investigation was closed without charges in part because the police claimed to be unable to determine the identity of the person who had thown the fatal punch. Such a blatant failure to connect the dots has the hallmarks of an investigation governed by politics, not professionalism.”
And it singled out Alvarez — who now was arguing that she should oversee any new investigation — for criticism: “Despite the suspicious circumstances surrounding the Koschman investigation, Alvarez has publicly defended the work of the Chicago police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s felony review unit.
“Alvarez is in no position now to conduct the kind of probing and objective ‘fresh look’ that this matter so urgently requires.”
Koschman’s mother said she asked for a special prosecutor after reading the Sun-Times stories, which also reported that Devine — a Daley family friend who, as state’s attorney at the time of Koschman’s death, was Alvarez’s boss — was representing one of Vanecko’s brothers in a civil lawsuit over the investment of city of Chicago pension funds.
“Everybody knew everybody — except for David and me,” Nanci Koschman said then. “We didn’t know anybody.
“So he died. And nobody cared.”
The public owes the Sun-Times reporters the credit they deserve for doing the job good reporters are suppose to do. It's unfortunate that the newspaper didn't exhibit that kind of journalistic prowess in exposing Barack Obama's corrupt relationship with convicted political fixer Tony Rezko, who paid cash bribes to him, or his illicit relationships with men on the down low, including the unsolved murder of one of his alleged former lovers, Donald Young, the former choir director at Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church who was gunned down in his apartment shortly before the 2008 Iowa Caucus for no apparent motive after speaking to Larry Sinclair, who claimed to have performed oral sex on Obama and used cocaine with him during a trip to Chicago when Obama was still a state senator. America could have been spared the intentional destruction of our Republic by the mystery man whose true masters live far beyond the borders of this country.

1 comment:

CircleCityScribe said...

This story shows what I have said all along:

"Corruption is as Corruption does."
-The Democrat Machine

It was only after The Democrat Machine was relieved of authority that justice could be served. -Imagine that!