Round Lake Beach man who killed romantic rival gets 78 years in prison

  • Kenneth Seplak was sentenced Wednesday to 78 years in prison for killing of a perceived romantic rival in December 2016.

      Kenneth Seplak was sentenced Wednesday to 78 years in prison for killing of a perceived romantic rival in December 2016. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, June 2019

  • Kenneth Seplak was sentenced Wednesday to 78 years in prison for killing of a perceived romantic rival in December 2016.

      Kenneth Seplak was sentenced Wednesday to 78 years in prison for killing of a perceived romantic rival in December 2016. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, June 2019

 
 
Updated 9/11/2019 8:56 PM

Calling him an exceptionally dangerous man, a judge on Wednesday sentenced a Round Lake Beach man to 78 years in prison for the 2016 killing of a perceived romantic rival in Libertyville.

Kenneth Seplak, 40, was convicted of first-degree murder in June for the fatal shooting of David Gorski on Dec. 23, 2016. Authorities said Seplak shot Gorski along Milwaukee Avenue after the 30-year-old Libertyville man had gone to the movies with a woman Seplak wanted to date.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lake County Judge Mark Levitt said he'd never seen anything so senseless.

"In addition to destroying your life, you destroyed two families who had nothing to do with this," Levitt said, referring to the Gorski family and Seplak's mother and father.

Gorski's father, mother and one of his sisters read emotional statements before the court Wednesday.

"David's murder robbed my family of normal life forever," said David's mother, Dolores Gorski. "There is no such thing as closure, only the hope to move through life with the strength to live with it, to live with the pain and the sadness."

Dolores Gorski said she and her husband have kept the still-wrapped presents that David was to receive for Christmas days after he was murdered.

"His birthday and Mother's Day are torture to me," she said. "Christmas is particularly hard. I can't even look at a Christmas tree."

Seplak attorney Steve McCollum argued that because his client had no prior criminal history he deserved the minimum sentence of 45 years in prison.

"A 45-year sentence for a 40-year-old-man in the department of corrections is a very, very long time," McCollum said.

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McCollum later said he expects Seplak to file an appeal.

When given an opportunity to speak to the judge, Seplak said he understood what the Gorski family is going through before stating he didn't know what else to say. He did not apologize.

In June, Seplak testified that the shooting was an accident. He told jurors he was intending only to scare Gorski when he pointed the gun at him and it went off.

Levitt said jurors found Seplak's testimony to be "utter nonsense."

"We are extremely satisfied with the judge's imposed sentence," Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said. "I hope this brings a measure of peace and closure to the Gorski family."

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