Former fire chief waives arraignment on theft charges

Published 3:55 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

A former Chilton County Sheriff’s deputy and fire chief at West Chilton Volunteer Fire Department pleaded not guilty to charges related to alleged thefts of fire department funds.

Steven (Steve) Wayne Tate, 45, of Thorsby, waived his arraignment and filed a written plea of not guilty through his defense attorney on Feb. 25.

An indictment against Tate filed in February in Chilton County Circuit Court charges him with one count of theft of property in the first degree and one count of extortion in the first degree.

Tate is accused of “obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over lawful U.S. currency, the property of West Chilton Fire Department,” according to the indictment.

Tate was arrested July 30, 2014, along with his wife, Donna Tate, 41, and Apache Corona, 39, of Jemison.

The three suspects were taken into custody by the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office.

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

An order filed on March 3 by Chilton County Circuit Judge John B. Bush set a plea date for Steve Tate on April 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

Steve Tate will have the option to inform the court whether the case will go to trial or whether he will enter a plea of guilty, according to court records.

Currently, Tate remains out of jail on a bond of $100,000.