Suspect in murder of Karen Simek outside Garden Fresh Foods contests findings in doctor’s report; hearing set

MILWAUKEE — A doctor’s report was returned Friday, Jan. 26 for David McLaurin, 25, charged with harboring/aiding a felon as party to a crime in connection with the murder of Karen Simek outside Garden Fresh Foods.

During the hearing, the state and defense did not contest the doctor’s findings, but McLaurin did. Therefore, a hearing was set for Feb. 8 to go over the report.

There are two others charged in this case as well. Carl Knight, 26, faces one count of felony murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony. He has a jury trial set to begin in March.

Samantha Gustafson, 20, faces one count of harboring/aiding a felon as party to a crime. She has a plea hearing set for Feb. 22.

Charges were filed on Jan. 5 — nearly a year after the fatal shooting. Simek was shot and killed during a robbery near 12th and National around 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 31, 2017 as she walked to work at Garden Fresh Foods, where she had a job for 11 years.

Carl Knight, David McLaurin, Samantha Gustafson

According to a criminal complaint, police recovered multiple digital video recordings from different exterior security cameras in the area of the homicide scene. A review of the videos shows a male subject “accosting the victim on the east side of 12th Street, on the sidewalk outside the door to her workplace.” The two are standing face-to-face for a brief moment — and “then the victim falls to the ground.” The complaint indicates the video shows the male subject “sprinting southbound on 12th St.”

 

For nearly a year, no arrests were made.

Karen Simek

The case went cold until a former roommate, David McLaurin, told police what happened. McLaurin said, “Knight was getting money by doing armed robberies in Jan. 2017.” In early February, “Knight stated to McLaurin that he had shot and killed an ‘older white lady on National.'” Knight told McLaurin the lady had a purse and Knight wanted it. When he went to take the purse, “something happened to scare Knight so he shot the lady.” McLaurin stated he “disbelieved Knight at first, but then later learned about the homicide” of Karen Simek.

Prosecutors say McLaurin and Gustafson helped Knight hide out after the shooting. He was eventually arrested in Chicago.

On Dec. 27, 2017, Knight spoke with Milwaukee police detectives. He indicated he had been pressured “to get money somehow” by his roommates. He stated that “the location at 12th and National would be an opportune location for an armed robbery.” Knight went on to say he “grabbed a purse from the lady and the gun went off one time.” He told police he took the bag and ran back across the street.

 

Karen Simek and Kevin Sasse