Carol Marin

Carol Marin

Marin: Time haunts Nanci Koschman

Originally published Sept. 20, 2013


Time is the enemy of Nanci Koschman.

That was painfully clear this week when she learned that no more charges will be filed in her son’s 2004 homicide. Time’s run out. A three-year statute of limitations blocks her like an armed guard at the gate of justice. That revelation knocked her for a loop.

“Should I have called police the next day and said ‘who did this to my son?’ ” she asks.

The police, except for one perfunctory call after her son was taken to the hospital, never called again during the 11 days that 21-year-old David lay dying.

“I’d like to see those first 11 days, what did they do?” she said. “I guess I should have been the advocate for David. But I was advocating for him in the hospital.”

It was only after the Cook County Medical Examiner declared his death a homicide that Chicago Police and Cook County prosecutors moved into what can only loosely be described as “action.”

David Koschman, a short, slight young man from Mt. Prospect, was a nobody. The person who hit him was a somebody. Richard “R.J.” Vanecko was tall and had the build of a linebacker. The grandson and nephew of mayors named Daley had had a previous, highly publicized, run-in with violence in his youth. Koschman had had none.

In April of 2004, both men ended up on Division Street in the wee hours of the morning, each in a group of friends. An argument led to a lone punch and David Koschman’s head crashed to the pavement.

Police charged no one.

Not in 2004.

Not in 2011 when a Sun-Times inquiry forced a re-investigation.

Time marched on, offering Nanci Koschman nothing but the nightmare of her loss.

Not until Judge Michael P. Toomin ripped the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for “missing file syndrome” and the “fiction of self-defense” was the death of David Koschman given a modicum of respect. Not until Special Prosecutor Dan Webb indicted Vanecko on an involuntary manslaughter charge was anyone called to account.

But time, 17 months of it, was required for Webb and his team to investigate how clout may have corrupted the probe of Koschman’s death. And each day of those many months Nanci Koschman waited for answers.

But when the report was finalized on Thursday, it was also sealed by the court until after Vanecko’s trial early next year. An effort not to prejudice the proceedings.

“I respect Judge Toomin saying let’s seal it until after the trial,” said Nanci Koschman. “But there’s a part of me like, could you just send me the first four pages so I can put my head down at night and know could I have made a difference in all of this had I handled it differently?”

Time taunts her.

The 10th anniversary of David’s death arrives in the spring.

“Will I see it before the 10-year anniversary? Will I not? Will I ever have any answers, I don’t know.”

Twitter: @CarolMarin