Judge sets June trial for Updyke, pending appeal

Source: WTVM-TV Elizabeth White
Source: WTVM-TV Elizabeth White

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - A judge has tentatively set a June 25 trial date for the man accused of poisoning two iconic oak trees at Auburn's Toomers Corner.

That's contingent on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals' ruling on Harvey Updyke's request to have Judge Jacob A. Walker III recused from the trial, contending he has ties to the university.

Walker had denied the request, saying that Updyke attorney Everett Wess did not present evidence of partiality.

Wess also sought to have Updyke declared indigent Wednesday, waiving transcript costs and a $200 docket fee from the appeals court. Walker declined the latter request after meeting with attorneys behind closed doors but gave Updyke 30 days to come up with the $200.

Wess said it would likely be taken care of by week's end.

When asked by reporters if he was working to make a plea deal, Updyke's attorney, said "We feel it is not in the best interest to discuss plea deals with the media. So I can't confirm or deny.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.