The judge presiding over the case of Richard Vanecko, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect, denied a trio of defense motions to dismiss the charge.
Defense attorney Thomas Breen argued it was improper for a grand jury to meet at the Winston & Strawn law offices of special prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney and Winston & Strawn chairman. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb in April 2012 to look into the death of Koschman after allegations Vanecko got special treatment because he is a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
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Koschman died from brain injuries 11 days after a physical altercation with Vanecko outside a Chicago bar on April 25, 2004. Authorities say the men got into an argument and Vanecko punched the Harper College student, who fell to the ground and hit his head. Defense attorneys say Koschman had been "verbally and physically aggressive" and "had to be restrained."
Breen suggested "perks" the grand jurors received, including lunch, beverages and complimentary parking, might have prejudiced them in the state's favor. McHenry County Judge Maureen McIntyre, who was brought in to hear the case at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, denied that motion, saying there was no evidence that meeting at the law firm offices impeded grand jurors from "reaching a meaningful result."
In a separate motion, defense attorney Terrence Gillespie argued grand jurors were "misled" by special prosecutors, who Gillespie said didn't make jurors aware of inconsistencies in witness statements. Webb stated prosecutors provided grand jurors with all witness statements.
"We thought in fairness to Mr. Vanecko, the grand jury should have everything," he said.
Lastly, McIntyre denied defense attorney Marc Martin's motion to revoke the authority of the special prosecutor, agreeing with the state that the question should be addressed by Illinois' appellate court.
Vanecko has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 18.