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Daley nephew pleads not guilty

Dec. 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pleaded not guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of a man he fought outside a bar.

Richard Vanecko appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, the Chicago Tribune reported.

His attorneys were give a week to decide whether to contest the appointment Judge Arthur Hill to preside over the case. Hill was a prosecutor when Daley was state's attorney and noted he was appointed to the Chicago Transit Authority board by Daley when he was mayor, the newspaper said.

Hill said he thinks can be "fair and impartial in this case" and won't voluntarily recuse himself, though he added he would understand if Vanecko requests another judge.

Vanecko, who turned himself over to police Friday, "recklessly performed acts which were likely to cause great bodily harm to another," a grand jury decided last week.

On April 24, 2004, David Koschman, 21, and a group of his friends got into an altercation with another group that included Vanecko outside of a bar. Koschman was knocked to the street and hit the back of his head on the pavement. He died 11 days later.

At the time of the incident, police said Koschman was the aggressor and closed the case without charges. However, after announcing the indictment, prosecutors noted that at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Vanecko was much larger than Koschman, who was 5-foot-5 and 125 pounds.

Vanecko's attorneys issued a statement last week saying they were disappointed with the indictment.

Koschman "was clearly acting in an unprovoked, physically aggressive manner," Vanecko's legal team said. "We are confident that when all the facts are aired in a court of law, the trier of fact will find Mr. Vanecko not guilty."

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