You are on page 1of 3

STILL NO DEAL

PAGE 2

NATION

ITS OFF?

ZWECKER

Kristin Cavallari tells pals she and Jay Cutler have ended engagement PAGE 25

*Some restrictions apply

Learn how on page 5.

2011 PULITZER PRIZE WINNER LOCAL REPORTING


75 CITY & SUBURBS $2 ELSEWHERE | LATE SPORTS FINAL | MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011 | SUNTIMES.COM | TEASE 880 650 Page 47

WHO KILLED DAVID KOSCHMAN? | A WATCHDOGS INVESTIGATION

MOREMISSINGFILES INKOSCHMANCASE PoliceclosedcaseinvolvingDaleynephewanyway


TIM NOVAK & CHRIS FUSCO REPORT ON PAGES 18-19

Your Target run is tastier than ever.


To find a Target with fresh grocery, visit Target.com/storelocator. Prices good 7/24/20117/30/2011. 2011 Target Brands, Inc. 071104 *Some restrictions apply. See Target.com/redcard for details.

Plus, save an additional 5%* with your Target debit or credit REDcard.

sale
Pint, Fresh Blueberries

49

18 | CHICAGO SUN-TIMES | MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

WHO KILLED DAVID KOSCHMAN? | A WATCHDOGS INVESTIGATION

Police closed case involving Daley nephew anyway


BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO
Staff Reporters/tnovak@suntimes.com

MORE MISSING FILES IN KOSCHMAN CASE


In the latest twist in the highprofile homicide case involving a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned that the Chicago Police Departments original files from the case were missing for months possibly years. Its the second time that lawenforcement records turned up missing regarding the violent death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect, who succumbed to brain injuries days after getting punched in the face by Daley nephew Richard J. R.J. Vanecko during a drunken confrontation in the Rush Street area in April 2004. City of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson already has been investigating the police departments handling of the Koschman investigation. Now, the police departments own Internal Affairs Division has launched a separate investigation into how the departments original case files disappeared, a high-ranking police source said. The police found those files somewhere inside the departments Area 3 detective headquarters at Belmont and Western the detective division that worked the case in 2004 only within the past month, sources said. That means that detectives from Area 5 brought in early this year to reinvestigate Koschmans death after the Sun-Times requested police reports on the case, which had been dormant for seven years were working with an incomplete set of records when they closed the case on March 1, determining for the first time that Vanecko threw the fatal punch but deciding that he

Richard R.J. Vanecko


this point have no additional comment as to how these new materials could have impacted an evaluation of this case. The Sun-Times first requested records from the case in January. Since then, the police department has made public copies of case reports but withheld other records, including detectives notes from the now-closed investigation. What were supposed to have been complete sets of records were provided to the Area 5 detectives, Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez and the inspector general records the police now acknowledge were incomplete. The department wont say whats missing, though. Officials there cited Fergusons investigation and their own internal probe in refusing to describe those records or release them. The IGs office has everything, the police department source said. Were not trying to hide anything. These arent the first missing files in the Koschman case. Seven years ago, the states attorneys office headed at the time by Richard Devine, a longtime political ally of the Daley family reviewed the police departments findings and determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Vanecko or anyone else in Koschmans death or even to know for certain who threw the deadly punch. But the prosecutors office, whose

David Koschman was punched after leaving Bar Chicago, now Detention, on April 25, 2004.
about that by a reporter on Friday. shouldnt be charged. It does seem unusual a file could Police officials would not say exactly where or when the missing be missing for a long time and sudcase files were found, nor where denly it reappears, said Weis, who they should have been stored, nor ordered the reinvestigation of the Koschman case in Januhow long they are believed ary and resigned as superto have been missing. intendent on the day the But there was nothing case was closed. in the no-longer-missing Its an unusual developfiles which turned up afment on a high-profile case ter Supt. Garry McCarthy that has gained a lot of took that post, replacing publicity, said Weis, who former Supt. Jody Weis is now deputy director of that would cause the dethe not-for-profit Chicago partment to reconsider its Jody Weis Crime Commission. But decision not to seek charges against Vanecko, according to the to take this next step and say theres police source, who spoke only on the something nefarious thats going a long way. . . . I dont know what was condition of anonymity. Weis said he didnt know that any missing or what was in there. Asked about the revelation that files were missing until being asked

| KEITH HALE~SUN-TIMES

police files were missing and hadnt been provided to prosecutors, Cook County States Attorneys Office spokeswoman Sally Daly said: We were surprised to learn that we had not received the complete Koschman case file from the Chicago Police Department, given the fact that we had been assured that it had been provided to us in its totality. . . . Given the ongoing investigation by the citys inspector general, the states attorneys office has contacted that office to inform them of this development and to provide a copy of the materials that were presented to us . . . by the Chicago Police Department. We have not had the opportunity to review or assess the materials that were provided to us . . . and at

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011 | CHICAGO SUN-TIMES | 19

A copy of the police report stating that David Koschmans homicide case was closed on March 1. No criminal charges were filed.
current boss, Alvarez, was Devines chief of staff, has said it cant find any records showing that it reviewed the case even though a top prosecutor met face-to-face with witnesses and detectives about it on May 20, 2004. Devine has said he cant explain why the states attorneys office has no paperwork. Normally, if some matter is presented to the states attorneys office some kind of investigation or review theres a record thats part of the system. I know it was brought to my attention, said Devine, who now works for a law firm whose clients include Vaneckos older brother, Robert Vanecko. The states attorneys office also

says it has no records to show when the police sought its consultation on the Koschman case. Such calls are usually recorded in the states attorneys felony-review logs. The confrontation that led to Koschmans death happened in the early-morning hours of April 25, 2004. Koschman and four friends had been carousing in the Rush Street area and bumped into a group that included Vanecko, then 29, and three others. According to the police, Koschman was arguing with Vaneckos friend Craig Denham, when Vanecko punched Koschman in the face. Koschman, a student at Harper College in Palatine, fell back and cracked his head on the street. He died nearly two weeks later from the resulting brain injuries. After punching Koschman, Vanecko ran off, and so did Denham, according to the police. Two of their friends who were with them that night Kevin McCarthy and Bridget Higgins McCarthy, a married couple were questioned by police officers about whether they knew the two men who had taken off, and Kevin McCarthy initially lied to the police and told them they did not, the Sun-Times has reported. After Bridget McCarthy later told police who the men were, witnesses including Koschmans friends couldnt pick Vanecko out of a police lineup held on May 20, 2004, and Koschmans death remained classified as an unsolved homicide until the reinvestigation earlier this year, when the police closed the case, deciding that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Vanecko, now a businessman living in Southern California, acted in selfdefense when he struck the 5-foot-5, 140-pound younger man. Ferguson began investigating the police handling of the case after Koschmans friends and another witness told the Sun-Times that police reports mischaracterized what theyd told detectives. Detectives recorded them as saying Koschman was being physically aggressive, which they deny. Ronald E. Yawger, a retired detective who investigated the Koschman case seven years ago, said Friday he recently met with investigators from the inspector generals office. He said he wanted to prepare for that interview by reviewing his original case files, but the police wouldnt let him. Yawger, who said there wasnt enough evidence in 2004 to charge anyone in Koschmans death, said he was surprised to hear that the original files had been missing. Thats funny, the retired detective said. Its brutal. How many more twists and turns can this take?