Harvey Updyke Case Continued for Decision on Venue

The cirucs like case in Lee County, Alabama against Harvey Updyke, avid University of Alabama fan who is accused of poisoning the iconic Toomer's Oak tree's on Auburn University's Campus has been continued.

The trial was delayed before the jury could be seated after Circuit Judge Jacob Walker determined that the jury pool was tainted. The jury pool was tainted because potential jurors heard this week of a news report claiming that Harvey had admitted to the crime to a reporter.   

The Circuit Judge said he decided to stop the trial after speaking to ten of the potential jurors that had learned from the report about his confession.

The judge is considering a defense motion for a venue change because he is convinced that Updyke will not receive a fair trial within the county where the crime was committed. The judge also admitted that the media coverage in the state would make it difficult to seat an impartial jury anywhere in the state.

Harvey Updyke is a former Texas police officer, and is accused of poisoning the oak trees shortly after the 2010 Iron Bowl game between Auburn and Alabama. Auburn came away victorious and eventually came away with the National Championship title. He bragged anonymously about the incident on the Paul Finebaum Show, a nationally syndicated sports radio talk show.

The charges brought against him were felony charges of criminal mischief and unlawful property damage. He was also charged for two misdemeanor counts of "desecrating a venerated object." Updyke has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

If convicted he will face up to a 10 year prison sentence on each felony charge, and up to one year on each of the misdemeanor counts.

Harvey faces serious penalties for what he is alleged to have done. If you or someone you know has committed a crime, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Kelly Dugan, Judge halts trial of Alabama fan accused of tree poisoning, Reuters.com

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