Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is calling for independent investigators to take another look at the death of David Koschman, who died after an altercation with a group that included Mayor Richard Daley's nephew, R.J. Vanecko.
"I think it would be more appropriate to have an outside police agency look at this," she said Thursday in discussing the death of 21-year-old David Koschman.
Koschman died seven years ago during a confrontation on Division Street after a night of drinking and partying. It was April 25, 2004 when two groups approached each other. A bump occurred and a verbal argument began. In one group was Koschman. In the other was Daley's nephew, R.J. Vanecko.
Police, after taking another look at the case recently, said everyone was drunk that night and now believe Vanecko threw the only punch. Koschman was struck, fell and hit his head. He died 12 days later and his death ruled a homicide.
No one was ever charged, in part because Koschman's friends could not positively identify who threw the punch in a 2004 police lineup. There were also conflicting witness statements.
"Some witnesses now suggest that the versions of events attributed to the in CPD (Chicago Police Department) reports from 2004 were not accurate," Alvarez wrote in a letter to the interim Director of the Illinois State Police.
Alvarez said that according to police reports, Koschman was the one who started the fight that night and continued until the altercation turned deadly.
"Mr. Koschman is the one that in all, started this confrontation and apparently wasn't letting up," Alvarez said.
But Scott Allen, who was there that night, said in an earlier interview his friend was not the aggressor.
"Are you absolutely sure that David Koschman didn't, in any way, cause someone to think they were going to get hurt by him," he was asked.
"One hundred percent, without a doubt, yes," replied Allen.
Alvarez strongly denied that family matters played a role in how the case was handled.
"It doesn't matter who the alleged offender is related to," she said. "Or who he is, we are going to look at the case."
But she said politics did matter when it came to how the story has been reported.
"We would not be here talking about this case but for the fact that this guy happens to be related to the mayor," according to Alvarez. "Simple. Dug up seven years later because Mayor Daley is on his way out."
Alvarez, in the letter to the State Police, wrote, "I have no objective evidence to support the notion that there was any misfeasance or malfeasance on the part of investigators in this case. However, with this new information, it is by belief that an independent investigation from a separate police agency is clearly warranted to ensure that we reach the truth in this case."