Opening Arguments Near in Harvey Updyke Trial

By: associated press
By: associated press
The trial of an Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn

Crews work to remove toilet paper from one of two poisoned oak trees before spraying the leaves with a coating at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Ala.

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) -- The trial of an Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn's cherished Toomer's Corner oak trees is approaching opening arguments.

Day 3 of jury selection begins Thursday morning with some 50 people still under consideration to hear the case of Harvey Updyke.

That group will be narrowed down to 33 by computer, including potential alternates.

Attorneys for each side will have six strikes after a computer randomly whittles it down to 24.

On Wednesday, Judge Jacob Walker didn't grant the defense's request for a change of venue after Auburn's student newspaper reported that Updyke confessed earlier in the week.

The longtime Alabama fan Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect on charges that include criminal mischief and desecrating a venerable object.

AP-WF-06-21-12 0933GMT

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