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Detective who resigned linked to open cases, records show

By Staff | Jun 30, 2016

A Cape Coral detective under investigation for making false statements under oath, who resigned this week among allegations that he deceived his department, has ties to over a dozen open court cases.

According to documents from the State Attorney’s Office, former Detective Kordelle L. McKissack was a material witness in 19 active cases between June 2015 and May. One case involved Taylor Marie Ammons, who was charged with possession of controlled substance and marijuana under 20 grams.

“McKissack was working the case and he got a search warrant for where my client lives with her roommate,” defense attorney Spencer Cordell said on Thursday. “He indicated it was a drug house.”

The search uncovered marijuana, prescription pills and counterfeit money. Ammons and two others were arrested and charged, with a separate case opened in federal court for the counterfeit money.

“We had two cases based on the same search warrant,” he said.

In April, Cordell went after McKissack’s warrant on the state case and won.

“The State (Attorney’s Office) didn’t even fight,” he said. “We attacked his warrant on all fronts.”

Charges had already been dropped in another case, where a judge determined that McKissack lied under oath and obtained a search warrant by falsifying information from a tip. Judge Ramiro Manalich stated in his order granting suppression of the warrant that McKissack’s “credibility is impaired.”

“McKissack knowing put misinformation into the affidavit, and this misinformation was the basis and impetus for the investigation upon which the affidavit and warrant were based,” he continued.

“It basically proved that he lied in the warrant,” Cordell said about the first case. “He was caught fabricating things in his warrant, which is exactly the things we were looking at in our case.”

On Tuesday, Cordell appeared in court to again argue for the suppression of McKissack’s warrant – this time in the federal case against Ammons for the alleged counterfeit money found in the home.

“That’s where the really crazy stuff came out,” he said.

Cases McKissack worked around the same time has similar wording in the warrants.

“He cut and pasted the same language on all these search warrants, just changing the names and addresses basically,” Cordell said.

McKissack also had no documents or evidence to support his previous testimony.

Assistant Federal Public Defender George Ellis Summers, who is representing a co-defendant of Ammons, uncovered other information about McKissack and when he applied for the CCPD.

“They discovered some major anomalies in his past,” he said.

In his application, McKissack swore in an affidavit that he had not resigned from another agency under investigation. He worked at the Spring Hill Police Department in Tennessee before joining the CCPD.

“He had been accused of a rape and forced to resign because of that accusation,” Cordell said.

When the information came to light at Tuesday’s court proceeding, Cape police officials immediately directed the department’s Professional Standards Bureau to open an Internal Affairs investigation.

“McKissack allegedly lied during the employment process with the department 13 years ago,” a prepared statement from the CCPD states. “Information revealed in court yesterday showed that he was under investigation for an allegation of sexual battery at the time of his application in 2003.”

On Wednesday, McKissack resigned from the agency.

“In spite of this turn of events, the investigation will go forward to completion and the results will be forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission,” interim Police Chief Dave Newlan reported via the prepared statement on Wednesday.

The Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission is the body that certifies police officers in Florida. Moral character violations, such as lying or perjury, can be grounds for de-certification.

Police officials stated that McKissack had been on administrative leave since March 7, pending the completion of a separate IA investigation pertaining to allegations of untruthfulness in the warrant. The investigation is still pending but will be completed and forwarded to FDLE and the CJSTC, as well.

Every CCPD applicant must complete pre-employment testing, undergo a panel interview, complete a background check, and are subjected to a polygraph, drug screen and psychological evaluation.

“Fewer than 10 percent of applicants make it through,” Newlan stated. “In this case, the allegation of sexual battery was not disclosed by either Detective McKissack or his former employer.”

The Spring Hill Police Department never provided derogatory information about McKissack.

“In fact, their past Chief of Police, Reggie Pope, provided a very positive letter of recommendation,” Newlan continued. “If the facts of the Internal Affairs investigation support what was alleged to have been happening at the time, this was patently deceptive on the part of Pope.”

As of Thursday, the federal judge had not ruled yet on Cordell’s motion to suppress.

“There have been more cases affected, but I do not know the numbers on that,” he said.

According to the documents from the State Attorney’s Office, McKissack also served as a material witness in 15 “inactive” cases.

Officials could not be reached for clarification on what inactive means, however noted in an email that McKissack will not be used as a witness in cases due to the allegations.

“It’s shocking the extent of how wrong things went with this, from accusations in the past, to lying to get his job, to lying in his testimony,” Cordell said. “You really have to worry about any case he’s ever worked on.”

Neither Pope nor McKissack could be reached for comment on Thursday.