A Round Lake Beach man will serve 78 years in prison for the murder of a former Marian Catholic High School student who was dating a woman the convicted killer reportedly was stalking.
David Gorski’s mother, Dolores Gorski, was inconsolable in court Wednesday as she remembered a Feb. 14, 2008, phone call she received from her son. As a college student, David Gorski had been next door to the Northern Illinois University’s Cole Hall, when a gunman opened fire in the crowded building, killing five people before taking his own life.
“Before it was even reported on the news, he called me. ... I’ll never forget what he said,” Dolores Gorski said through tears. “ ‘Mom, don’t freak out. There’s been a shooting. I’m OK.’ I would give anything to hear him say that to me again.”
After a week-long trial, a jury found Kenneth Seplak guilty in June of first-degree murder in connection with David Gorski’s death. Before handing down the sentence Wednesday, Lake County Judge Mark Levitt called Seplak “an extremely dangerous person,” adding that he believed the man’s testimony at trial was “utter nonsense.”
“I have not ever seen anything so senseless as the murder of a romantic rival – a rival who existed only in your head,” Levitt said.
The first-degree murder charges stemmed from a late-night shooting Dec. 23, 2016. Libertyville police were called to the area of Milwaukee Avenue and Hollister Drive, where a passerby reported seeing an unconscious driver inside a car that was parked on the median and had its hazard lights flashing, police said.
David Gorski, “Sweet Dave” to his friends, was a former Crystal Lake resident who graduated from Marian Central Catholic High School and McHenry County College. He was discovered dead in his car late Dec. 23, 2016, after Seplak allegedly shot the 30-year-old after witnessing David Gorski leave a Vernon Hills movie theater with the woman.
During a brief testimony Wednesday, Seplak’s mother, Laura Seplak, called her son helpful and told the judge how Seplak used to shovel neighbors’ driveways and lend money to friends.
“If it didn’t get paid back, it didn’t matter to him,” Laura Seplak said.
Money was at the center of an ongoing dispute between Kenneth Seplak and the woman he reportedly was stalking.
In the months leading up to to David Gorski’s death, Kenneth Seplak lent about $13,000 to a woman whom he repeatedly professed his love to through text messages, prompting her to block his phone number, police said.
Since Gorski’s death, his family has struggled to pick up the pieces of the life they say was shattered when they received word of the the former athlete’s death.
“As his mother, I agonize over his last moments,” Dolores Gorski said. “Did the angels come and get him right away?”
Gorski’s family received the news of his death on Christmas Eve 2016. His unopened gifts have gone untouched for the past 2½ years and remain in a corner of the Gorskis’ home, his father, James Gorski said.
“No one should ever have to endure what my family has had to deal with ever again because of Kenneth Seplak,” James Gorski said.
One of David Gorski’s friends and teammates, Eric Knott, said he holds tightly to the fond memories the two shared together, like when Gorski hit a three-run home run and advanced Marian’s baseball team to the state quarterfinal.
“That was the proudest moment in his life and his parents’ life,” Knott said. “Nobody will forget that, that’s for sure.”