UPDATE: Suspect in Toomer's Corner tree fire charged with criminal mischief

AU officials to make decision on burned oak

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The suspect accused of intentionally lighting the fire at Toomer's Corner over the weekend made his first court appearance on Monday.

Jochen Wiest appeared in front of an Auburn Municipal Court judge on Monday. Wiest is being charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a felony, in addition to the desecration of a venerated object and public intoxication charges.

Wiest was in the United States on a work visa but has now been ordered to not leave the state. Wiest worked at Baxter Manufacturing Plant in Opelika. He planned to leave the U.S. to return to his native Germany on Friday and return in late November.

As a result of Wiest being charged with a felony offense, the prior charges will be transferred from the jurisdiction of Auburn Municipal Court to the Circuit Court of Lee County, AL.

An additional bond of $3,000 was placed on Wiest for first-degree criminal mischief and he remains in the Lee County Jail on a $4,500 bond.

Auburn Police, working in conjunction with Auburn University and officials within the school's horticultural department, determined that damage to the oak tree exceeds $2,500.

Alabama law requires that individuals that inflict property damages that exceed that amount be charged with first-degree criminal mischief.

POLL: Following the fire set at Toomer's Oaks in Auburn, do you think the tradition of rolling the oaks after an Auburn Tigers home victory should continue? Click here to take the poll. 

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