Gunshot residue and forensic science take over Libertyville murder trial

  • Kenneth Seplak, left, speaks to defense attorney Dan Hodgkinson on Wednesday during his trial in Lake County court in Waukegan. Seplak, 39, is on trial in the Dec. 23, 2016, murder of David Gorski, 30, of Libertyville.

      Kenneth Seplak, left, speaks to defense attorney Dan Hodgkinson on Wednesday during his trial in Lake County court in Waukegan. Seplak, 39, is on trial in the Dec. 23, 2016, murder of David Gorski, 30, of Libertyville. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/13/2019 5:14 PM

An evidence technician testified Thursday that gunshot residue was found on a driver's-side window well and on the left cuff of a shirt police believe Kenneth Seplak wore the night David Gorski was fatally shot on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville.

But forensic expert Ellen Chapman also testified gunshot residue was not found on the exterior of Seplak's Chevy Tahoe or on his hands and face hours after Gorski was shot about 11 p.m. Dec. 23, 2016.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Chapman, who performed the tests for the case at an Illinois crime lab, testified that gunshot residue can be washed off easily and can fall off a person or object after six hours. The tests conducted on Seplak and his vehicle took place more than nine hours after Gorski, 30, of Libertyville, was found unresponsive behind the wheel of his car.

Forensic science and police investigative techniques took over the courtroom for the third day of testimony in the murder trial in front of Judge Mark Levitt at the Lake County courthouse in Waukegan.

Seplak, 39, of Round Lake Beach, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if found guilty.

Authorities allege Seplak killed Gorski after Seplak followed Sandy Moreno -- a woman Seplak had been stalking -- to the AMC Hawthorn 12 movie theater in Vernon Hills. She met Gorski at the theater for a date.

Assistant Lake County State's Attorney James Newman said in court that data collected from Seplak's cellphone shows he drove to the theater and was there at the time Gorski and Moreno met up. The data also indicates Seplak left the theater and went to his parent's house, where prosecutors believe he grabbed a .38-caliber revolver.

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Gorski and Moreno drove separate cars to the theater, authorities said. Authorities believe Seplak followed Gorski on Milwaukee Avenue, then fired the gun with his left hand out his driver's-side window, hitting Gorski in the right side.

Authorities said Seplak had been stalking Moreno after she rebuffed his efforts to have their friendship turn sexual. They say Seplak also gave her more than $13,000 in money and gifts over a year.

Seplak repeatedly called Moreno the "woman of my dreams" but became increasingly frustrated when she shut down their text interactions after Sept. 1, 2016. She claimed in court she started blocking his texts because of continued sexual statements and when the number of texts increased significantly.

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