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Article updated: 1/19/2013 1:30 PM

Vanecko makes Rolling Meadows court appearance

By Barbara Vitello

Richard Vanecko appeared for the first time Friday in a Rolling Meadows courtroom to face charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of Mount Prospect resident and Harper College student David Koschman.

Vanecko, 38, a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, pleaded not guilty to the charges in December.

McHenry County Judge Maureen McIntyre presided over a hearing that was dominated by a discussion over evidence, which prosecutors Stephen Senderowitz and Sean Wieber said consisted of 17,000 documents and more than 200,000 pages.

The Illinois Supreme Court assigned the case to a McHenry County judge at the request of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans after a Cook County judge withdrew from the case because of ties to Daley, a former Cook County state's attorney.

"I do not know anyone involved (in the case). My family does not know anyone involved," McIntyre said Friday.

Koschman, 21, died from brain injuries about two weeks after he was punched in the face and fell to the ground following an altercation outside a Chicago bar in the early morning hours of April 25, 2004.

Chicago police said Vanecko threw the punch, but no charges were ever filed, and police later concluded that Vanecko acted in self-defense. Koschman family members claimed Vanecko's relationship to Daley compromised the initial investigation.

A Cook County judge appointed special prosecutor Dan Webb last year to look into the case, and Vanecko was charged last month.

Friday's brief hearing concluded with a status date set for May 14 in Rolling Meadows to allow defense attorneys Marc Martin, Terence Gillespie and Thomas Breen to review voluminous documents, audiotapes and hospital records.

Vanecko, who lives in California, may live there while the case is pending, but must attend all court proceedings, McIntyre ordered.

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