Witness to Killing Involving Daley Nephew: Deceased Didn't Start It

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 3, 2011 3:02PM

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David Koschman (image captured via NBC Chicago video)
The story behind the unsolved 2004 death of David Koschman is gaining traction. Koschman died from injuries he sustained after allegedly being punched by someone in a group of people that included Richard "R.J." Vanecko, a nephew of Mayor Daley. Despite the County Medical Examiner declaring Koschman's death a homicide, no one in the Vanecko party was ever charged. County prosecutors also contended at the time that Koschman instigated the fatal altercation.

Now, a witness to the incident has come forward after the Sun-Times ran the first part of their story Monday to say that the prosecutors' contention Koschman was the aggressor was "a flat-out lie." Michael Connolly was previously interviewed by the Police Department in the case. He said he and a friend were near the scene of the altercation on Division Street.

“What I saw was David definitely being mouthy,” Connolly said of the 5-foot-5, 140-pound Koschman, a 21-year-old from Mount Prospect who’d been out drinking with friends. “I did not see David attempting to attack the other person. He was definitely moving toward the taller guy but not in an aggressive fashion. From what I recall, he was probably moving in to say something else.”

Koschman's friends told police then that he was punched by one of the three men in Vanecko's group. They were later able to identify Vanecko's friends from police lineups, but noted they weren't the ones who threw the punch. No one ever picked Vanecko put of a lineup.

Police told the Sun-Times that they handled the investigation fairly and no preferential treatment was given to Vanecko because of his relationship to Daley.