Venue change sought in Auburn tree poison case

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OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Jury selection for the trial of the Alabama football fan accused of poisoning two landmark oak trees at rival Auburn heads to a third day.

Defense attorney Everett Wess says opening arguments could come Thursday afternoon or Friday morning in the trial of Harvey Updyke.

The jury pool will be narrowed Thursday morning from 85 to 51 — five of whom have conflicts or hardships. The computer will randomly generate 33 names including potential alternates from that list and each side can strike six.

Wess renewed calls for a change of venue after a student newspaper reported that his client had confessed. The judge turned him down and imposed a gag order allowing only attorneys to speak to reporters.