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Law firm report: Ex-Mayor Daley didn’t influence initial failure to charge nephew in Chicago slaying

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Law firm report: Ex-Mayor Daley didn’t influence initial failure to charge nephew in Chicago slaying

Feb 4, 2014, 02:15 pm CDT

There was no attempt by former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, his family and his officials to influence city police and Cook County prosecutors in a 2004 slaying case involving a Daley nephew that was not pursued for years, a special prosecutor says in a report released Tuesday.

However, the lengthy report by court-appointed special prosecutor Dan K. Webb also says police and prosecutors were hesitant and files were lost during the investigation of what was clearly, as the Chicago Tribune puts it, "a heater case from the start," with then-mayor Daley still at the city's helm. Webb, currently the chairman of Winston & Strawn, previously served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

During a January 2012 interview on WLS radio, as the slaying was still in an investigative posture, for instance, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez "commented on the strength of the case," Webb wrote, and said a lack of witness identifications during police lineups might constitute a "fatal flaw."

A grand jury indictment obtained by Webb more than a year ago resulted in a guilty plea on Friday by Richard Vanecko, now 39, to one felony count of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by another 60 days of home confinement and two and a half years of probation, another Chicago Tribune article reports.

Vanecko apologized to the mother of his victim, David Koschman, saying "I am sorry. If I could undo what was done, I would, but I can’t. I just want to extend my sincerest apology.”

Then 29 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds, Vanecko threw a single punch at Koschman, 21, 5 feet five inches tall and 125 pounds, during a 2004 drunken confrontation in an area of the city near Rush and Division streets that is known for its bars and nightlife, the Webb report recounts. Hit squarely in the face, the younger, smaller man topped backward and hit his head on the sidewalk. He never regained consciousness and died at the hospital, after multiple surgeries, 12 days later.

A copy of the report is linked to the Tribune article about Webb's investigation. Webb was appointed to investigate the case after relatives of Koschman filed an unusual Cook County Circuit Court petition seeking a special prosecutor.

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