McHenry County Judge Picked to Hear Vanecko Case

By Quinn Ford on January 4, 2013 4:55pm 

 McHenry County Judge Maureen P. McIntyre will hear the politically-charged involuntary manslaughter case involving former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Richard J. Vanecko.
McHenry County Judge Maureen P. McIntyre will hear the politically-charged involuntary manslaughter case involving former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Richard J. Vanecko.
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Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — A judge from outside Cook County — McHenry County Judge Maureen P. McIntyre — has been selected to preside over the trial of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Richard J. Vanecko.

McHenry County Chief Judge Michael Sullivan assigned McIntyre to the trial Friday after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans asked the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint an outside judge to the case to avoid any "appearance of impropriety."

McIntyre is assigned to the juvenile court room in McHenry County.

Vanecko was indicted in December in the death of David Koschman — a 21-year-old Mt. Prospect man who fell into a coma and died after Vanecko allegedly punched him during a drunken altercation on Rush Street in 2004.

Cook County Judge Arthur F. Hill, Jr. was originally assigned at random to the manslaughter trial but recused himself because he had worked for Daley while in the Cook County State's Attorney's office. Daley served as the county's state's attorney before becoming mayor.

More than eight years have passed since Koschman died of the head injury. A grand jury indicted Vanecko after an investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb. His appointment followed a series of stories about the case by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Koschman and a group of friends had been drinking on April 25, 2004, when they encountered Vanecko and another group. The groups exchanged words, and Vanecko allegedly punched Koschman, who fell and hit his head.

Witnesses brought in by police later could not pick Vanecko, now a resident of California, out of a lineup.

The investigation into Koschman's death has drawn criticism from his family and raised questions about the influence of clout in the original police investigation.

The indictment charges that Vanecko, "through the use of physical force, and without lawful justification, recklessly performed acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another," states the indictment. "Such acts caused the death of David Koschman."

Vanecko returned to Chicago from his home in California to face the charges earlier this month, and pleaded not guilty last week.

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