ADA — One of three accused Roff cattle rustlers is scheduled to begin a jury trial today in Pontotoc County.

James Euell Morgan Jr., 21, Roff, was charged in March 2005 with larceny of a domestic animal, conspiracy to commit a felony, and attempting to obtain money by false pretense in connection with a cattle rustling caper that could have totaled more than $10,000 in damages.

Morgan's two alleged accomplices, 26-year-old Jerome Don Courtney and 22-year-old David Michael Eason, both of Roff, were also charged with the same offenses.

The three men are accused of stealing 15 head of cattle from an isolated pasture northwest of Roff and attempting to sell them locally. The suspects allegedly used the cattle owners own stock trailer to transport the animals to the Southern Oklahoma Livestock sale barn where they were later recovered by the Pontotoc County Sheriff's department and returned home. The cattle owner told the Ada Evening News last March the livestock would have brought more than $10,000 at sale. Chief Deputy Justin Priest was credited with leading the investigation that identified the three suspects and recovered the animals.

In October, District Judge Thomas Landrith granted a motion to sever filed by Morgan's attorney, which allows separate trials for criminal defendants who were charged with the same crime.

Each of the counts on which the suspects are charged carries a possible 10 year prison sentence and or up to $5000 in fines.

Eason pleaded guilty on all charges in December after having previously waived his preliminary hearing. Eason is scheduled for formal sentencing Feb. 13. The state's recommendation is a sentence of 10 years with all but three suspended.

Courtney's trial date is not known at this time.

This Week's Circulars