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Auburn Tree Poisoning: Jury selection begins in trial of suspect Harvey Updyke Jr.

Harvey Updyke arrives with his wife Elva at the Lee County Justice Center in Auburn, Ala., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in his trial where Updyke is accused of poisoning Toomer's Corner's historic oak trees on the campus of Auburn University. AP Photo/Dave Martin

Harvey Updyke arrives with his wife Elva at the Lee County Justice Center in Auburn, Ala., Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
AP Photo/Dave Martin

(CBS/AP) MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Harvey Updyke Jr., an Alabama fan accused of poisoning two oak trees at rival school Auburn University's famed "Toomer's Corner." 

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.

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: Would potential jurors "make a decision based upon the defendant being a University of Alabama sports fan?"

When the judge asked if they had read or seen reports about the case, all but one of the potential jurors signaled yes. Seven indicated they worked for Auburn University and three said their spouses did.

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

Complete coverage of the Toomer's Corner tree poisoning on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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