Trial Set to Begin for Man Accused of Poisoning Auburn Trees

By: Kim Allen Email
By: Kim Allen Email
Harvey Updyke Trial Begins on Tuesday.

Auburn Tigers fan Katy Reynolds takes a photo of the poisoned oak trees near Auburn University at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., earlier this week. The landmark trees have yellow and brown leaves and bare spots, but several experts say it is still too early to determine whether they will survive an attack that police allege was carried out by a University of Alabama fan who is currently awaiting trial.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An Alabama fan is about to go on trial on charges of poisoning two oak trees that are fixtures for fans of archrival Auburn.

Attorneys will begin picking a jury in Lee County on Tuesday for the case against 63-year-old Harvey Updyke Jr. The courthouse is less than 10 miles from the Toomer's Corner oaks and Auburn's campus.

Updyke and wife Elva were in court Monday for the deposition of an expert witness who is unavailable later in the week.

Updyke is a former Texas state trooper and a longtime Crimson Tide fan. His trial has been delayed several times since his indictment in May 2011.

Prosecutors say Updyke poisoned the trees after Auburn's victory over Alabama during the Tigers' 2010 national title season. Updyke has pleaded not guilty.

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