Special prosecutor ordered in Daley nephew case

April 6, 2012 4:13:33 PM PDT
A judge has ordered a special prosecutor to investigate the 2004 death of a man during an altercation with a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Koschman's family wanted a special prosecutor because they believe politics may have influenced the investigation.

State's Attorney Anita Alvarez denies politics played a role in the investigation that resulted in no charges against the former mayor's nephew.

The judge, however, said there has been the appearance of impropriety in the case, and the only way to determine once and for all who is responsible for Koschman's death is to appoint a special prosecutor who is not influenced by city politics.

Nanci Koschman says she expected the worst this afternoon. It's what she says she has become accustomed to over the last eight years since her 21-year-old son David died eleven days after being hit in a dispute outside a bar on Division St.

She says police never investigated the case, allegedly because the man who punched her son, Vanecko, is the nephew of then-Mayor Richard Daley.

In a scathing rebuke of city and county officials, Judge Michael Toomin agreed Friday afternoon, saying no police or prosecutors ever spoke to Vanecko.

"This was a defense conjured up by police and prosecutors," Toomin said. "To deny the request [for a special prosecutor] would be to cap indignity with injustice."

"There has been a terrible mess created as a result of the investigation and we have a glimmer of hope we will get t the bottom of that mess," said attorney Locke Bowman

"The lesson here is it doesn't matter if you are from the Koschman family or any family. You should be equal in the eyes of the law," said Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association.

Koschman's attorneys allege States Attorney Anita Alvarez is a political ally of the former mayor, and failed to pursue the investigation and possible charges against his nephew as aggressively as she should, something she strongly denies.

"That innuendo is dishonest, it's misleading, absurd and personally insulting to me," Alvarez said.

Koschman's mother says she's hoping to clear her son's name and gain justice at long last.

"I feel like it was last weekend instead of eight years ago," Nanci Koschman said. "Somebody will look into it now."

The state's attorney says she will not appeal the decision and her office will cooperate with the special prosecutor. Vanecko's attorney left the courtroom without commenting.

Nanci Koschman said she planned to head to the cemetery right after leaving court, saying she wanted to share the news with her son.