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Koschman Case Update: State Police Reversal on Investigating, Former Cop Said Vanecko Was Uncooperative

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 5, 2011 2:12PM

David Koschman (image captured via NBC Chicago video)
A former cop who was part of the original investigation into the 2004 death of David Koschman told the Sun-Times that Richard "R.J." Vanecko, the Daley relative who threw the punch that killed Koschman, should have been charged in the crime, but that a combination of factors not related to politics prevented that.

Ronald Yawger, who was the lead detective in the original investigation, told the Sun-Times that Koschman's friends were unable to pick out Vanecko, who ran from the scene with a friend after throwing the punch, from a lineup; Vanecko's attorney Terence Gillespie never made his client available for an interview; and that Vanecko's other friends at the scene originally ran interference for him by originally telling police they didn't know him. As far as Vanecko's relationship to His Elective Majesty, Yawger said, “There’s no policeman in the city who would give two craps about the Vaneckos or the Daley family.” The Sun-Times also reports that Yawger, now an investigator in state Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, was found not guilty in the mid-80s of providing security to a cocaine deal.

As for the State Police investigation into how the Police Department handled the Koschman case, that's not happening. Interim Director Patrick Keen called Dan Kirk, Chief of Staff for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, to inform him that they would not be launching an independent investigation. We questioned whether the State Police, with former Alvarez chief investigator Hiram Grau taking over, could truly launch an independent investigation anyway (even though Grau said he would recuse himself). City Inspector General Joe Ferguson is still moving forward into his own investigation into the Police Department's handling of the Koschman case.