Plea date set for former Collins Chapel fire chief

Published 11:01 am Monday, May 22, 2017


By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

CLANTON – The former Collins Chapel fire chief is set to appear in Chilton County Circuit Court for a plea hearing in late August, according to recently filed court documents.


In early May, Circuit Court Judge Bill Lewis issued a scheduling order setting an Aug. 31 plea hearing for 46-year-old Shawn Carlisle, who is facing charges of first-degree theft of property and using an official position for personal gain.

Carlisle’s original plea date was set for May 11, but was continued after Carlisle’s attorney had a scheduling conflict with the date, according to court documents.

During its March session, a Chilton County grand jury indicted Carlisle on the two charges. Both charges are Class B felonies, and carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years upon conviction.

In late August 2016, Chilton County District Court Judge Rhonda Jones-Hardesty bound a first-degree theft charge against Shawn Carlisle over to the grand jury for consideration. The grand jury reviewed evidence in the case and determined it would uphold the theft charge and bring a new charge of using an official position for personal gain against Carlisle.

Carlisle was arrested and booked into the Chilton County Jail on July 28, 2016. He was released from jail the same day he was arrested after posting a $10,000 bond.

Carlisle’s arrest came after the state Fire Marshal’s Office launched an investigation into the fire department, which is based in the Collins Chapel community and serves portions of northern Chilton County, in late May.

During the investigation, the Fire Marshal’s Office allegedly discovered Carlisle was “cashing fire department checks at a local business.”

According to court documents, Carlisle cashed numerous checks from the Collins Chapel Fire Department’s People’s Southern Bank tax-exempt account at a local business between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 17 of this year.

“Total amount taken from one account was in excess of $20,000,” read the State Fire Marshal’s Office complaint filed against Carlisle.

When Carlisle was arrested, the volunteer fire department began working toward reopening, and named Jay Littleton as its new fire chief. On Aug. 13, 2016, the fire department held a meeting to name a new board of directors, and held the first of multiple certification classes on Sept. 20. The fire department reopened in late 2016.

The Jemison Fire Department covered the Collins Chapel area while the volunteer fire department worked to fully begin operations again.