Former Madison Co. deputy won't face criminal charges - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Former Madison Co. deputy won't face criminal charges after arrest

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Parton's attorney Jake Watson said his client was the first deputy on scene of the Jason Klonowski murder. Parton's attorney Jake Watson said his client was the first deputy on scene of the Jason Klonowski murder.
MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

A former Madison County Deputy will not face criminal charges after an arrest and accusations of stealing a gun from the scene of a murder. The Madison County District Attorney said he will review the judge's decision to dismiss the charges.

Authorities charged Steve Parton in early 2014 with theft after a gun from a crime scene disappeared, but was later recovered by the owner. That's a charged the judge tossed.

Parton's attorney Jake Watson said his client was the first deputy on scene of the Jason Klonowski murder. He secured the scene. That was a murder the ABI and Federal Authorities investigated because of Klonowski's outspoken views against the sheriff's department.

Watson said one of the guns found near the victim's body disappeared. The owner of the gun later found it underneath the seat of her vehicle days later, but never thought it was stolen. Watson said the Sheriff's Department fired his client for his handling of the evidence.

"The way the owner of the firearm found out that she was the victim of a theft was that she received a letter from the Madison County District Attorney's office saying she may be entitled to restitution," said Watson. "So naturally, she enquired about it and she told them she had the firearm so it wasn't an issue."

Watson said it surprised him when he walked outside the courtroom to get one of the investigators he had subpoenaed to take the stand, and couldn't find him. He said it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things, because the judge alerted the court the state had failed to prove its case and dropped the theft charge against Parton. Watson said if he needed that testimony he was prepared to ask the judge for assistance.

"The judge can attach them and have them brought to court by other deputies," said Watson. "I haven't had to handle a subpoena that way before. I have no idea why they weren't there. I imagine it would make them uncomfortable to be there."

Chief Deputy Dave Jernigan said the two investigators that did not show up at the hearing were at required in-service training and could have been made through a telephone call if needed. He said they received the subpoenas on short notice and that steps were taken at the department to make sure that future short notice subpoenas don't have similar issues.

As for the department's policy on alerting the public and media about an employee facing criminal charges, the Chief Deputy said there is no such policy.

The Chief Deputy's email stated, "In most cases, comments regarding an arrest such as this, as in the Parton case, is conducted when we receive a media inquiry. Once the case is referred to the Madison County District Attorney's office any release of information regarding a disposition of a case is handled by their office."

The Madison County District Attorney said he would review the judge's decision to toss former deputy Parton's charges.

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