Woman testifies she told murder suspect she didn't want romantic relationship
The Wauconda woman at the center of Kenneth Seplak's murder trial in the death of a man he thought was a romantic rival testified Wednesday that she repeatedly told Seplak she was not interested in anything more than friendship.
But Sandy Moreno also admitted to the jury she accepted Seplak's offers of money and gifts -- and even "jokingly" told him the size of items she wore from Victoria Secret should he want to buy her something. Defense attorneys have claimed in court previously that Moreno manipulated Seplak for money until he lost his job.
Seplak, 39, of Round Lake Beach, who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder for killing David Gorski, 30, of Libertyville, faces life in prison if found guilty.
Authorities allege Seplak killed Gorski on Dec. 23, 2016, after Seplak followed Moreno to the AMC Hawthorn 12 movie theater in Vernon Hills and saw her meet up with Gorski, authorities said.
Gorski was found shot to death about 11 p.m. behind the wheel of his car on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville. Gorski and Moreno drove to and left the theater in separate cars.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney James Newman has told jurors data collected from Seplak's cellphone shows he drove to the theater. The data also indicates Seplak went to his parent's house, where prosecutors believe he grabbed a gun and returned to the theater.
Authorities have said Seplak stalked Moreno after pushing to have the friendship turn sexual. He called her the "woman of my dreams."
Moreno testified she never obtained an order of protection or filed a police report but did have a text conversation about the situation with an Island Lake police officer she knew. She said the officer urged her to get an order of protection, but she was unable to get out of work to do so.
She also testified "I didn't feel safe" when Seplak would show up at her store unannounced or leave hand written messages on her car at her house or at work.
Mareno, who was married, admitted under cross examination by defense attorney Daniel Hodgkinson that she never told her husband, Gorski, or another male friend about Seplak.
Prosecutors said previously in court that Seplak met Moreno through his job delivering beer at a gas station where she worked as a clerk. Newman said the two went out a couple of times, and Moreno asked Seplak for help with bills and expenses.
Officials said the monetary requests started small but ended up totaling about $13,000.
Seplak became increasingly frustrated the relationship had not become physical, and he texted Moreno frequently after Sept. 1, 2016. He repeatedly professed his love and texted they should become "friends with benefits," but she never responded, Moreno testified. Those text messages were displayed in court for the jury.
Moreno blocked Seplak's number when the text messages started to become more frequent and increasingly sexual, she said in court. She unblocked his number only to make arrangements to repay the $13,000 he claimed she owed when she stopped responding to the text messages, she said.