published Friday, July 19th, 2013

Hearing to determine restitution for Auburn trees

A bare and dying oak tree stands at the entrance to Auburn University at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., in this file photo. Auburn cut down the trees in the spring of 2013.
A bare and dying oak tree stands at the entrance to Auburn University at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., in this file photo. Auburn cut down the trees in the spring of 2013.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OPELIKA, Ala. — A judge will hold a hearing to determine whether University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke should pay Auburn University about $1 million for poisoning its landmark oak trees.

The Opelika-Auburn News reported Friday that Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III scheduled the hearing for Sept. 18.

The hearing will determine whether Updyke must pay restitution for killing the trees at Toomer’s Corner. Auburn fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a big win.

The state is seeking about $1 million on Auburn’s behalf, but Updyke’s attorney says that amount is too much.

“The state’s requested restitution is unduly excessive, overly burdensome, and will result in unjust enrichment for the victim, Auburn University,” defense attorney Andrew Stanley writes in his response to the state’s request, al.com reported.

Stanley also asked for financial information regarding any donations received by the university for the oaks and revenues from the planned sale of souvenirs made from the salvaged wood from the trees.

Updyke, 64, is out of jail after pleading guilty to poisoning the trees. He spiked the trees with a powerful herbicide after Auburn beat Alabama in their annual football game in 2010.

Auburn cut down the trees this spring.

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