63 year old Harvey Updyke, who was responsible for poisoning a group of 130 year old oak trees at Auburn University, will begin his trial tomorrow. Updyke, a dedicated Alabama University football fan, added a strong herbicide to the ground where the trees are growing after a football game at Auburn University in 2010.
The oak trees have been a communal gathering place for Auburn fans for a number of years, but since the poisoning they have lost about 80 percent of their canopy coverage.
After the incident, Updyke bragged about it on a national sports radio station. He now faces criminal mischief charges, which could land him ten years in jail each and two misdemeanors, which carry a $2,000 fine and up to a year prison time each.
The school has taken the necessary action to undo the poisoning, but experts say the effects might not wear off for another seven years.
Updyke’s lawyer, Everett Wess, is appealing for a fair jury. He said; “We’re looking for jurors who can separate facts from emotion and bias.” Wess has also explained that his client is in a poor state of health, suffering with diabetes and a condition that causes him to faint unexpectedly.
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