Vanecko Pleads Guilty in Koschman Death

Special prosecutor to Koshman mother: "We may have justice today."

A plea deal has been accepted in the case of Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, charged in the 2004 death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mt. Prospect.

Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, pleaded guilty to causing Koschman's death in exchange for 60 days in county jail, 60 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring, $20,000 in restitution and an apology. He also must spend the maximum 30 months on probation.

Vanecko offered the apology to Koschman's mother, Nanci, in court.

He turned to her and said, "I extend my sincerest apologies."

Lawyers gathered behind closed doors Friday afternoon at the Rolling Meadows courthouse to discuss the deal with the judge.

To the surprise of many, Vanecko made an unscheduled appearance at the courthouse where preliminary motions were being heard prior to a Feb. 18 involuntary manslaughter trial.

Until this point, his plea had been "not guilty" in Koschman's death.

But by making an unexpected appearance Friday immediately raised the question of whether a plea-deal had been in the works.

At one point during the hearing, special prosecutor Dan Webb turned to Nanci Koschman and said: "We may have justice today."

Nanci Koschman in December 2012 filed suit asking that a special prosecutor be appointed to probe the manner in which police and Cook County prosecutors handled the investigation of her son's death.

It was not until the Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 first reported on this case that a long list of irregularities including missing files and conflicting police reports began to emerge.

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