Jury selection begins in Auburn tree poison trial



OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Lawyers want to know about the favorite schools of potential jurors as they begin the trial of an Alabama fan accused of poisoning two oak trees at Auburn’s famed Toomer’s Corner.

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Harvey Updyke. Eighty-five prospective jurors filled Judge Jacob Walker’s courtroom, a few miles from Auburn’s campus.

Among the questions submitted by Updyke’s attorneys: whether potential jurors would “make a decision based upon the defendant being a University of Alabama sports fan.”

Defense attorney Everett Wess says selection might continue until late in the week.

Updyke is accused of poisoning the trees after Auburn beat Alabama during the Tigers’ 2010 national title season. The 63-year-old has pleaded not guilty on charges that include criminal mischief and desecrating a venerable object.