Did spurned love turn into murder? 2016 case goes to trial this week in Lake County

2016 case goes to trial this week in Lake County

Editor's note: This story was changed to correct the first name of the victim to David Gorski.

Spurned love and romantic obsession over a woman are at the center of a murder case that goes to trial this week in which a Round Lake Beach man stands accused of gunning down a rival on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville.

A Lake County jury could decide if Kenneth Seplak shot and killed 30-year-old David Gorski two days before Christmas 2016. Authorities say Gorski was killed late that night because he was dating a Wauconda woman whom Seplak was stalking after she rejected his advances.

Evidence in the case includes gunshot residue authorities say was found on Seplak, the recovery of a handgun and ammunition that matches the bullet taken from Gorski's body, and GPS coordinates indicating the whereabouts of both men that night, according to court records.

Neither defense attorneys Steve McCollum and Dan Hodgkinson nor Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Jim Newman would comment on the case.

Seplak, now 39, of the 1400 block of North Lake Shore Drive, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in Gorski's death. He faces up to life in prison if found guilty at trial.

Seplak has been out of custody since posting the required 10 percent of his $3 million bail in January 2017. But he has been ordered on an electronic home monitoring device and is on a 24-hour curfew. He's also been ordered to not have any contact with Gorski's family, or the unidentified Wauconda woman.

Newman said in court records that Seplak sent 196 text messages to the woman - most of them were blocked by her - between Sept. 30 and Dec. 23, 2016. In those messages, Seplak tells the woman he loves her, she was the "woman of his dreams" and he didn't want to lose her.

Court records show Seplak and the woman met several years earlier when she worked at a gas station and he was a delivery driver.

He began texting her in October 2015, but she told him she was not looking for a relationship, records show.

They attended a movie together that month, but she texted him two days later to say he was texting too much and that they could only be friends, according to court documents. However, court documents also show she started accepting money from him in 2016.

Seplak claimed in the text messages the woman owed him $13,000 because of money and gifts he bought or gave her. He demanded the money be returned after she didn't reciprocate his feelings.

Officials said the woman never filed a police report against Seplak, but she threatened to go to the police or get a restraining order against him, court records show.

Authorities say the woman had just started dating Gorski when they attended a movie at AMC Hawthorn 12 theater in Vernon Hills on Dec. 23, 2016. The two drove separate vehicles to the theater, authorities said.

Newman claims in court documents that GPS data shows Seplak went to the same theater that night and later followed the same path as Gorski.

Authorities allege Seplak shot Gorski through his vehicle window about 11 p.m. along Milwaukee Avenue, then drove away.

GPS data also shows Seplak's vehicle drove from Libertyville to the home of Keith D. Garcia on the 41000 block of North Route 83 near Antioch.

Inside the house, Seplak hid a .38-caliber handgun and ammunition, which Garcia found and turned over to police, authorities say.

The bullet recovered from Gorski's body matched the weapon found at Garcia's house, and gunshot residue tested from the handgun matched residue found on Seplak, authorities say.

Garcia was charged after police confiscated about 3,000 grams of marijuana during the Gorski death investigation. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to possession of cannabis and received 18 months of probation.

As part of the plea deal, Garcia is required to give truthful testimony at trial against Seplak.

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