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Grand jury to hear case involving volunteer fire officials

Three former West Chilton Volunteer Fire Department officials who face charges related to alleged thefts of fire department funds will have their cases presented to a grand jury.

Donna Tate, 41, Steve Tate, 45, and Apache Corona, 39, were scheduled to appear in court before Chilton County District Judge Rhonda Hardesty Tuesday morning for preliminary hearings.

The three were arrested in July 2014 on charges including theft of property and extortion, according to court records.

Attorneys representing Steve and Donna Tate and Corona waived the cases to a grand jury.

The grand jury in Chilton County meets twice a year, once in February and once in August.

Donna Tate, of Thorsby, was arrested July 29 and charged with first-degree theft of property and first-degree extortion, with each charge carrying a $50,000 bond for a total of $100,000.

Corona, of Jemison, was arrested July 29, 2014, and charged with first-degree theft of property with a bond of $50,000.

Both Donna Tate and Corona were listed as treasurers of the West Chilton Volunteer Fire Department, according to court records.

Steve Tate, a former Chilton County Sheriff’s deputy and fire chief of the West Chilton Volunteer Fire Department, was arrested July 30, 2014, and charged with first-degree extortion and first-degree theft of property for a total bond of $100,000.

Steve Tate and Donna Tate are husband and wife.

All three individuals have been released from jail on bond.