Accused Auburn tree poisoner pleads not guilty

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The man accused of poisoning the trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner has pleaded not guilty and waived Thursday's preliminary hearing.

Harvey Updyke Jr.'s attorney, Glennon Threatt Jr., said Wednesday night that he entered a plea of not guilty for reasons of mental disease or defect. Threatt says the hearing was waived because Updyke had a procedure on his back on Tuesday and wouldn't be able to travel.

Threatt says prosecutors filed a motion Saturday for a mental evaluation and gag order in the case.

The 62-year-old Updyke was indicted on two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts for unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object.