More restitution sought in Auburn oaks poisoning

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Prosecutors have increased the amount of restitution they are seeking from Harvey Updyke for poisoning Auburn University’s landmark oak trees to $1.35 million.

Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese filed court papers Friday increasing the restitution sought from $1.04 million. He said the prosecution is amending the amount as Auburn University compiles new cost figures. The new amount includes costs for the design concept for the new Toomer’s Corner, which provides a cable system for sports fans to roll with toilet paper rather than the trees.

Updyke pleaded guilty in March to one count of unlawful damage to the trees by poisoning them after the 2010 Alabama football game. The trees were cut down April 23, and Updyke, 64, was released from jail June 10.

Prosecutors said the actual costs, including landscape services, are now $675,209, but state law allows for recovering double the amount of costs, which pushes the total to $1.35 million.

Updyke’s attorney, Andrew Stanley, told the Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/17X2ROq) that Updyke is indigent, and the burden is on the prosecution to show he would need to pay the money. “They’re just going to have to come prove it,” he said.

Circuit Judge Jacob Walker set a hearing for Wednesday.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/

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