CHICAGO -- After more than nine years, Richard Vanecko, the nephew of Chicago's longest-serving mayor Richard Daley, pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman.
In exchange for pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, Vanecko will serve 60 days in jail and 30 months on probation, the Sun-Times reports. In addition, Vanecko will pay a $20,000 restitution and apologize to Koschman's mother. Vanecko will serve time in McHenry County Jail rather than Cook County for security reasons.
Koschman's mother unexpectedly appeared in court Friday, signaling to those following the case a plea deal had been reached..
"I was never out for revenge," Nanci Koschman said in court Friday according to the Tribune. "I just wanted an apology."
Vanecko's attorney said his client was "a good person who would've gotten along well with Koschman under different circumstances," according to the Tribune.
The 2004 incident went down outside a Rush Street bar when Koschman and friends were arguing with a group Vanecko was with. During the altercation, Vanecko threw a punch that landed Koschman in the street where he hit is his head; Koschman died 11 days later.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb told ABC probation is the typical punishment in so-called "one-punch cases," but also stressed the need for jail time in this instance.
"Mrs. Koschman did not ask for jail time. She told me, she said, 'I don't need another mother without her son.' But I felt that because of what happened here that some jail time was important," Webb said.
The case was also hailed as a victory for the Chicago Sun-Times' investigative reporting which had a direct impact on the decision to re-open the case after an initial probe fizzled out without any charges against Vanecko. An investigative series by the Sun-Times raised questions over how the case was handled -- and if evidence was tampered with or intentionally concealed -- due to Vanecko's family ties.
Following the Friday verdict media critic Robert Feder lauded the paper, writing, "In the finest tradition of Chicago journalism, the Sun-Times exposed the clout and coverups that conspired to deny justice to a grieving mother."