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February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Ratings: (0)|Views: 6 |Likes:
Published by Chicago Sun-Times
STRIP CLUB OWNER TO NUNS: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
PAGE 5

COPS’ VACATION LED TO QUICK HALT OF KOSCHMAN PROBE 18 PAGE

THE WATCHDOGS

2011 PULITZER PRIZE WINNER – LOCAL REPORTING

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012 | Late Sports Final

A

COMPANY

75¢ City/Burbs $2 Elsewhere | 330 300 TRICKY Page 25

‘I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU’

| RICHARD A. CHAPMAN~SUN-TIMES

| AP

Chicago’s Jennifer Hudson honors fallen star Whitney Houston with a performance of “I Will Always Love You” Sunday night at the Grammy Awards. Ad
STRIP CLUB OWNER TO NUNS: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
PAGE 5

COPS’ VACATION LED TO QUICK HALT OF KOSCHMAN PROBE 18 PAGE

THE WATCHDOGS

2011 PULITZER PRIZE WINNER – LOCAL REPORTING

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012 | Late Sports Final

A

COMPANY

75¢ City/Burbs $2 Elsewhere | 330 300 TRICKY Page 25

‘I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU’

| RICHARD A. CHAPMAN~SUN-TIMES

| AP

Chicago’s Jennifer Hudson honors fallen star Whitney Houston with a performance of “I Will Always Love You” Sunday night at the Grammy Awards. Ad

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Published by: Chicago Sun-Times on Nov 19, 2012
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12/03/2012

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012 |
Late Sports Final
2011PULITZERPRIZEWINNERLOCALREPORTING
 A COMPANY 
75¢City/Burbs $2Elsewhere | 33 30 TRICKY Page25
INSIDETEAMRAHM
Mayorhasseveralgroupsofconfidants,frompoliticstobusinesstolabor,andtapsbestmindsincountryforadvice
FRANSPIELMANREPORTSONPAGES14-16
|RICHARDA.CHAPMAN~SUN-TIMES
COPSVACATIONLEDTOQUICKHALTOFKOSCHMANPROBE
THEWATCHDOGS
STRIPCLUBOWNERTONUNS:MINDYOUROWNBUSINESS
PAGE5PAGE18
IWILLALWAYSLOVEYOU
SourcesaysHoustonmayhavediedbyaccidentaldrowningduetofallingasleepinbathtubathotelAshameHoustoncouldnotfindhappinessinthemusicthatprovidedsomuchjoyforothers
PAGE3
BILLZWECKERTHOMASCONNER
Chicago’sJenniferHudsonhonorsfallenstarWhitneyHoustonwithaperformanceof“IWillAlwaysLove You”SundaynightattheGrammy  Awards.AdelewonAlbumofthe Yearand5moreawardswhileKanyeWestwonforRapAlbum.
GRAMMYCOVERAGE,PAGE26
PAGE2
|AP
 
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012
18
THEWATCHDOGS
THISWEEKBY 
CHRISFUSCO
&
TIMNOVAK
F
acing the possibility of coming under scrutiny by aspecial prosecutor, the CookCounty state’s attorney’s office andthe Chicago Police Departmentare, for the first time, offering anexplanation for why, just hoursinto the case, detectives abruptlydropped the David Koschmaninvestigation and didn’t pick it upagain for 15 days:The two detectives assigned tothe case went on vacation.Hours after detectives RitaO’Leary and Robert Clemens hadlearned that Koschman was in acoma, with a fractured skull andswollen brain, the police stoppedtalking with witnesses — appar-ently, a top police official now says,in hopes that Koschman wouldrecover and would be able to talk with detectives about his confron-tation with a man later identifiedas Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, anephew of then-Mayor Richard M.Daley. As a result, detectives inter- viewed only two of the eight known witnesses in the 11 days beforeKoschman died. One of them wasa Vanecko friend who lied to thepolice on two separate occasions,concealing Vanecko’s involvement.Friends who were with Koschman weren’t interviewed.“It’s a sound investigative tech-nique to interview the victim first,if possible,” says Dean Andrews,the police department’s deputychief of detectives. “The detectivesat the time were told Koschman was going to be in a medicallyinduced coma for five days. It’sreasonable to believe that thedetectives did not think this wasgoing to turn into a fatality.”Instead, Koschman’s gravecondition only worsened whileO’Leary and Clemens were on vacation, hospital records show.The 21-year-old part-time collegestudent from Mount Prospectunderwent surgery four times andnever regained consciousness, dy-ing on May 6, 2004.It took four more days for thepolice to assign the case to a newteam of detectives, as O’Leary andClemens remained on vacation.The new team of detectives got thecase on May 10, 2004 — the daythe Cook County medical examinerruled Koschman’s death a homi-cide.Given how dire Koschman’s con-dition was, criminal justice expertsquestion why the police waited toresume interviewing witnesses— including those who wouldultimately reveal that Vanecko wasinvolved in the drunken confronta-tion on Division Street that led toKoschman’s death.“Did everybody miss the pointthat [Koschman] was gravely ill?”says Eugene O’Donnell, a professorof police studies at the John JayCollege of Criminal Justice in New York. “If you think somebody’sgoing to die, you should have a full-court press going that night.”Koschman died as the result of a single punch. The night of theconfrontation, the police classified what happened as a battery andassigned the case to the Area 3detective division, then overseen by Cmdr. Michael Chasen, who hassince retired. O’Leary and Clem-ens still work at Area 3, which is atBelmont and Western.Chasen and O’Leary havedeclined to comment. Clemenshasn’t returned messages seekingcomment.Questions about the 15-day gapin the investigation first arose lastMarch.But no one provided an expla-nation until Jan. 31, when State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez cited thedetectives’ vacation in a courtfiling. Andrews expanded on thatshort mention in an interview withthe Chicago Sun-Times.The court filing was a 46-pageobjection that Alvarez filed withCook County Circuit Judge Mi-chael Toomin to a request NanciKoschman made in Decemberseeking the appointment of a spe-cial prosecutor to re-examine herson’s death and the way the inves-tigation was handled by police andprosecutors. The mother’s lawyersargue that an outside prosecutoris needed because Alvarez’s officehas a conflict of interest in inves-tigating conduct including that of current officials in the prosecutor’soffice.The Koschman request for aspecial prosecutor cited a series of Sun-Times reports, beginning Feb.28, 2011, that have questioned howpolice and prosecutors handledthe case. David Koschman andfour friends had been out drink-ing in the Rush Street area when,during the early-morning hours of  April 25, 2004, they bumped into Vanecko, then 29, and three of hisfriends. During an ensuing argu-ment, Koschman was punched inthe face. He fell, fracturing his skullon the pavement. Vanecko ran away. He has neverspoken with the police about whathappened.Still, after giving the case a newreview after the Sun-Times soughtrecords in the case, the police saidlast March 1 that they determinedthat Vanecko threw the onlypunch. Seven years earlier, theyhad said they couldn’t say for sure who punched Koschman.But although the blow left Kos-chman mortally injured, the policedecided that Vanecko shouldn’t becriminally charged, asserting that,even though the much-smallerKoschman hadn’t hit anyone, Van-ecko acted in self-defense.Six hours after the deadlyconfrontation, Koschman had justgotten out of emergency brainsurgery at Northwestern Memo-rial Hospital when O’Leary andClemens began investigating whathappened.O’Leary called NorthwesternMemorial and was told by a nursethat Koschman was unconsciousand in “critical but stable condi-tion,” according to a report shefiled three weeks later.She and Clemens then went tothe North Side home of Kevin D.McCarthy and his wife, Bridget
 Withdetectivesoff,keywitnesses werentinterviewedfor15days
COPSVACATIONLEDTOQUICKHALTOFKOSCHMANPROBE
AnitaAlvarez(left)hasopposedNanciKoschman’srequestforaspecialprosecutor.
|SUN-TIMESLIBRARYPHOTOS

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