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Nov. 20, 2004 | Records say police knew of suspect's history of violence

After the death of deputy Todd Fatta, the Broward Sheriff's Office said it had no reason to believe beforehand that Kenneth Wilk, who is accused of killing him, would be violent.

Records obtained by The Herald paint a different picture.

At least three members of the task force that entered Wilk's Fort Lauderdale home on Aug. 19 had participated in a raid on the same home five weeks earlier. They followed an operational plan, prepared by BSO Detective Joe Vella, that contained detailed information on what kinds of weapons were in the house and Wilk's violent tendencies.

The task force was preparing to execute a search warrant on July 15, looking for evidence of child pornography believed to belong to Wilk's lover, Kelly Ray Jones, who had been arrested in 2001 on federal porn charges.

On July 15, they were there to re-arrest Jones on child porn charges.

"As you enter the home, you turn to your right, and on the left outside the bedroom is the gun cabinet, " reads page 3 of the operational plan of the BSO's Strategic Investigations Division.

The information was provided by Jones' federal probation officer.

The report also said, "according to the federal probation officer, there are at least two rifles at the home."

The plan contained information that Wilk was armed with a handgun when detectives arrested Jones three years earlier.

'A VIOLENT PAST'

It noted that Wilk was known to have a "violent past . . . assault on LEO [Law Enforcement Officer], intimidation to kill, written threat to kill LEO."

"A ruse will be used in an attempt to get the subjects out of the home, " before making an arrest, the July 15 plan said.

According to the report, some of the officers in the July 15 raid included Lt. Kevin Butler, a BSO unit supervisor; Will Hernandez, an officer with Florida Atlantic University; Neil Spector, of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office; Floy Turner, Joe Zellman and Lisa Udell of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and Chris Harvey of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Butler, Vella and Spector were part of the task force that returned to the home on Aug. 19 to execute a search warrant and arrest Wilk on charges of conspiracy to transmit child pornography.

Fatta and his partner, Angelo Cedeño, were the first to enter the home.

As they smashed through the front door and rounded a corner, Wilk opened fire from his hiding spot in the kitchen with a high-powered rifle, striking Fatta in the chest and Cedeño in the shoulder and left hand.

Fatta, who was wearing a protective vest, was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center. Cedeño survived.

Following the shooting, other law enforcement officials criticized the BSO for not calling in their SWAT team, or Fort Lauderdale's, because the case was within Fort Lauderdale's jurisdiction.

'NO INDICATION'

"There was no indication that Wilk was predisposed to violence, " BSO spokesman Jim Leljedal told The Herald in the days following Fatta's death.The sheriff's office declined to comment Friday on the contents of the operational plan.

"It is not appropriate for us to discuss the Wilk case, " said BSO spokeswoman Cheryl Stopnick.

Fatta's family has hired attorney Andrew Yaffa to represent them.

On Friday, Yaffa met with BSO attorneys.

"We were well received, and we are continuing to gather information to assist the family and ensure that officers who engage in these activities are protected, " Yaffa said.

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