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Vanecko Charge Raises Questions About Chicago Clout

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David Koschman died following a single punch thrown, police say, by R.J Vanecko. Carol Marin reports.

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Eight years after a man's death, a new indictment has many wondering if there's a double standard for justice in Chicago. 

R. J. Vanecko, former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, was charged Monday with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of David Koschman of Mount Prospect. Koschman died in 2004 after taking a single punch from Vanecko on the sidewalk outside a bar on West Division Avenue.

Until now, any criminal legal action against Vanecko has been nearly non-existent from the police and the state's attorney's office. That has raised serious questions about whether Vanecko, the grandson of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, received special treatment. 

"There is no celebration, no vengeance," said Locke Bowman, the attorney representing the Koschmans. "But why on earth are we standing here so long after? Did this delay have anything to do with the identity of the defendant and his politically powerful family?"

In January of 2012, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said she would fight an attempt to appoint a special prosecutor to the case and filed a 50-page motion stating that her office bore no conflict of interest in conduction the investigation. The special prosecutor was ultimately assigned to the case after oral arguments swayed Judge Michael Toomin.

Monday, however, Alvarez said there was more to her story:

"I know what I was supposed to do," Alvarez said responding to a question about the indictment at her swearing in. "I was the only one who asked for an independent investigator. Now I'm free to disclose ... we opened an active grand jury." 

Koschman's mother, Nanci, said she feels no need for revenge against Vanecko but said the Monday charge brings peace to her and her family.

"I wanted it on record that this man hit my son for no reason," she said.

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