Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

New Details Emerge as Former Mayor's Nephew Awaits Trial in Koschman Case




    New details surfaced Monday about the David Koschman case from a series of motions filed in court by special prosecutor Dan Webb. Carol Marin reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013)

    R.J. Vanecko and his friends had been drinking for nearly eight hours before the confrontation that led to the death of 21-year-old David Koschman in 2004, according to court documents filed Monday.

    That was just one new detail to emerge from a series of motions filed in court by special prosecutor Dan Webb.

    Nanci Koschman: Questions Remain in Son's Death

    [CHI] Nanci Koschman: Questions Remain in Son's Death
    Nanci Koschman said Friday she is grateful for the work of special prosecutor Dan Webb, but Thursday’s news of no more indictments and a sealed grand jury report did little to shed light on the questions that remain for her. (Published Friday, Sept. 20, 2013)

    In 2004 Koschman was struck and ultimately died from a lone punch allegedly thrown by R.J. Vanecko, the grandson and nephew of former mayors Richard J. and Richard M. Daley.

    Vanecko and his friends, Bridget and Kevin McCarthy, a husband and wife, and Craig Denham had been at an engagement party for Katie Daley, the niece of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. The party began at 7 p.m.
    The foursome continued their own party well into the night according to what the grand jury was told.

    Judge Orders Koschman Report Sealed Until Trial

    [CHI] Judge Orders Koschman Report Sealed Until Trial
    Judge Michael Toomin ruled Wednesday against a request by NBC5 and the Chicago Sun-Times and kept the special prosecutor’s report in the death of David Koschman sealed until the trial of R.J. Vanecko. Carol Marin reports. (Published Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013)

    The McCarthy’s and Denham originally pled the 5th Amendment before the grand jury and declined to testify, but after a grant of partial immunity, they did.

    According to testimony by Bridget McCarthy, she along with her husband Kevin, Denham and Vanecko had attended the engagement party at the Adobo Grill that night.

    Defense Asks to Bar Potential Witness in Koschman Case

    [CHI] Defense Asks to Bar Potential Witness in Koschman Case
    Attorneys for R.J. Vanecko are seeking to prevent a former Chicago police department attorney from testifying in Vanecko's involuntary manslaughter trial. The charge stems from a 2004 altercation resulting in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman. (Published Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013)

    From there they went to the Pepper Canister, a Wells Street bar and restaurant and then headed to yet another bar on Division Street.

    Koschman, with four friends had been drinking as well, and his group bumped into the Vanecko crowd.

    There was an argument and a single punch. David Koschman fell, struck his head on the curb, never regained consciousness and died days later.

    According to the court filling, after the punch was thrown, Vanecko and Denham began running.

    “Did you ever ask [Defendant] why he was running?” a grand juror asked.

    “I’ve never talked to [Defendant] about this incident,” Craig Denham is quoted as saying.

    “So you were just running with him? Never asked him why you were running?” the grand juror asked.

    “Right,” said Denham.

    All four, including Vanecko then headed back to the Pepper Canister, but the McCarthy's and Denham told the grand jury none of them spoke about what happened.

    According to court documents, Bridget McCarthy couldn’t recall any conversation, even though her husband had been temporarily handcuffed by police at the scene.

    And Ms. McCarthy said she didn’t know who let them into the Pepper Canister, which was already closed after 3AM when they returned there.

    Nor could she recall, she said, why she and her husband went back to the bar.

    Webb’s motion also reveals that police and prosecutors could produce no notes of their interviews with Vanecko’s friends from 2004.

    The Webb motion is in response to Vanecko’s lawyers challenging Vanecko's indictment and attempting to limit what can be brought into evidence at the trial which is set for February 18th. Vanecko has pleaded not guilty.

    A hearing is set for Jan. 9 for a judge to rule on motions filed by both the defense and the prosecution.