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Bond revoked in tree-poisoning case

Auburn Toomer's Corner
Auburn fans pay respects to the historic Live Oak trees in February 2011.
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OPELIKA, Ala. (AP)

A judge revoked bond Wednesday for a University of Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees.


Officers hand-cuffed Harvey Updyke and took him to jail after the ruling by Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III in Opelika. Walker said he would review any additional evidence from the defense and could order Updyke's release later.

Assistant District Attorney Kisha Abercrombie urged the judge to revoke Updyke's bond because of his arrest over an altercation with a Lowes employee in Louisiana. A court there issued an arrest warrant for Updyke in November - while he was in Alabama state custody undergoing mental evaluations, Abercrombie said. She added that Updyke still hasn't cleared up the Louisiana case despite being free for weeks.

Defense attorneys Margaret Brown and Andrew Stanley argued Updyke should be allowed to remain free. They said his arrest in Louisiana was improper and the Alabama judge lacked enough evidence to determine whether charges were still pending.

Updyke violated terms of his bond by getting arrested, Walker said.

Walker noted on his arrest video that Updyke said, ''`I know it's a terroristic threat but I'm going to prison anyway,''' an apparent reference to his legal troubles in Alabama.

Walker granted prosecutors' request to jail Updyke after watching the video that shows the man calmly talking with a police officer outside the store and complaining that he bought five different lawn mowers, ''and they all messed up.''

He told police he was having a hard time getting refunds and became upset when an officer suggested that he hire a lawyer. The video shows Updyke becoming increasingly agitated and cursing while one officer told another, ''He told me he ain't got nothing to lose.''

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Updyke is set for trial April 8. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to charges that include criminal mischief and desecrating a venerable object.

Updyke is charged with poisoning the Toomer's Corner oak trees during Auburn's run to the national championship in the 2010 football season. Auburn football fans traditionally roll the trees with toilet paper after a win.

Once full and green, the university says the trees are all but dead and will be removed.

Tagged: Alabama, Auburn

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