Accused Auburn tree poisoner Harvey Updyke Jr.
OPELIKA, Ala. -- Harvey Updyke Jr., the man accused of poisoning historic oak trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner, has yet another new attorney and a new court date.
Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker on Thursday granted Glennon Threatt's request to be removed from the case.
"An attorney needs to have a relationship of trust with his client," Threatt told reporters Thursday. "When that relationship deteriorates, an attorney can't help his client."
Threatt said he had a private conversation with Updyke informing him of the decision, which came after Updyke went on al Alabama radio show in late September and apologized to Auburn fans everywhere, but stopped short of confessing the crime which he has already plead not guilty too.
Updyke also said he was going on the show against the advice of his attorneys, one of which dropped out of the case immediately after the radio appearance.
"I wish him the best," Threatt said Thursday. "He's a fine person and it was an honor being his lawyer."
Updyke, 63, appeared in court briefly with his new attorney, Everett Wess of Birmingham.
Updyke sat quietly in the court room, and did not make any statements.
He was indicted in May on two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerable object and two counts of a state law that includes making it unlawful to damage, vandalize or steal any property on or from an animal or crop facility.
Updyke has requested that the charges be reduced to misdemeanors, saying that the state of Alabama "has explicitly set the value of an oak tree" at $20, which would be below the level for a felony. The judge has not yet ruled on that request.
His trial was originally scheduled for the Oct. 31 docket, but Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said there were three capital trials approaching that would stretch the resources of his department. Wess had no objection to pushing back the court dates.
Walker gave the attorneys 45 days to file motions in the case, which will be argued before Walker on Jan. 17.
ESPN REPORTS THAT LSU PLAYERS FAILED DRUG TESTS FOR SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA: The three LSU football players suspended indefinitely by coach Les Miles on Wednesday -- cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon and tailback Spencer Ware -- tested positive for synthetic marijuana in a school-administered drug test, according to a report late Thursday by ESPN.com, which cited an anonymous source close to the situation.
The trio will not play Saturday at home for the No. 1-ranked Tigers against Auburn, but Miles left the door open for them to return for the game against No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5.
Synthetic marijuana is sold as blends of exotic herbs and plant materials and are coated with chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids, which produce a marijuana-like high when smoked. They're packaged and sold all around the U.S. and are known by such street names as "K2" or "Spice."
Earlier this year, the DEA placed an emergency ban -- for the time frame of one year -- on the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana while a study is conducted to determine whether the substance should be regulated permanently.