Richard J. "R.J." Vanecko's McHenry County Jail booking mug

Richard J. "R.J." Vanecko's McHenry County Jail booking mug

His 60 days served, Vanecko leaves jail

Published April 15, 2014

Staff Reporters

Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko left the McHenry County Jail late Monday afternoon, having completed his 60-day jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman.

Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, now will begin serving 60 days on home confinement somewhere in Cook County.

Vanecko, 39, pleaded guilty Jan. 31, admitting he punched Koschman in the face during a drunken argument outside the late-night bars along Division Street on April 25, 2004.

Koschman’s head hit the pavement, and he died from brain injuries 11 days later.

Vanecko fled in a cab and wasn’t prosecuted for nearly a decade. The Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office twice declined to charge him during investigations that were conducted while his uncle was mayor.

The police maintained that Vanecko, who was 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, acted in self-defense when he punched Koschman, who was 5-foot-5 and 125 pounds.

An investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times in 2011 led Koschman’s mother to seek a special prosecutor — an appointment that ended with the indictment of Vanecko.

Vanecko declined to comment to a WGN-Channel 9 reporter as he left the jail in Woodstock.

He normally would have served his sentence in the Cook County Jail, but his attorneys got permission for him to be jailed in McHenry County out of concern for his safety. The McHenry County sheriff charged Vanecko $960, or $16 a day.

Vanecko will pay $174 — $2.90 a day — for electronic monitoring by the Cook County Adult Probation Department, according to a statement from Chief Cook County Judge Timothy C. Evans.

Cook County officials would not say where Vanecko will be confined.

Vanecko, who lives in Costa Mesa, Calif. and was named for his grandfather, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, will then spend 26 months on probation. He was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to Koschman’s mother and to apologize to her for killing her only child.