Janet Barber

Special to the Grove Sun

JAY – A man accused of shooting another over a dispute concerning stolen drugs will serve 10 years in prison.

James Douglas Elam, 29, of Strang, Okla., pled guilty to possession of a firearm after a previous felony conviction in district court on Sept. 23 after originally being charged with shooting with intent to kill.

On July 18, Elam and James Austin Herbeck, 50, also of Strang, went to the Tia Juana home of John Everet Herring, 48, and got into a “shootout” over who had stolen methamphetamines from Herring. Herring was shot once in the chest with an unknown caliber weapon and was life flighted to St. Francis Hospital and was later released.

Elam claimed the two men went to the residence with guns and when they confronted Herring, he pulled a pistol from under his couch and started shooting at them. They returned fire and went outside to take cover, still shooting in the direction of Herring.

When asked where Herbeck could be found, as he was missing from the Herring home at that time, Elam told Captain Teel that officers would not be able to find him as he had spent 19 years in a federal prison and “is not going to go back without a fight.”

Atwood Kansas authorities arrested Herbeck on July 21 and was extradited to Delaware County. Charges of shooting with intent to kill were dropped on Sept. 23.

A criminal background on Elam shows that he was incarcerated in prison for drug charges in Arkansas after a felony conviction for possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine in Benton, County Ark. in 2000 and also escape in Texarkana County, Ark. in 2002.

A criminal background check on Herbeck shows he has felony convictions for aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm in Colby County, Kansas in 1991 and in 1999 United States Marshall in Lincoln Nebraska for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He is also guilty of probation violation in 2006 from Lincoln, Neb.

A background check on Herring shows he has a felony conviction from Mayes County for possession of controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute in 2008.