The man arrested on suspicion of applying a deadly herbicide to the famed Toomer's Corner oak trees at Auburn University has a new attorney, his fourth since being charged with the crime a week ago.
Harvey Almorn Updyke's previous three attorneys resigned from the case, citing conflicts of interest, one due to his employment by Auburn University, another due to his wife working for the school.
Birmingham attorney Glennon Threatt Jr. filed a notice with Lee County Circuit Court on Wednesday to take over the case, reportedly on a pro bono basis.
"He gave what's tantamount to a confession on the radio, but he told the police that he didn't do it," Threatt told the Associated Press. Updyke was arrested after police followed up on a broadcasted call from an Alabama fan — calling himself "Al from Dadeville" — to a local sports radio show, saying he had poisoned the trees following the November 2010 football game between Alabama and Auburn.
Threatt previously represented former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, who was removed from office following his conviction for conspiracy and bribery.
The attorney told the AP that he has spoken to his new client by phone several times. "I enjoyed the times I've talked to him, and I'm looking forward to representing him. I expect this case to be a lot of fun."
Meanwhile, Updyke's friend Wayne Barnes, whose home Updyke had been living in, told the press that the suspect is currently in seclusion, living out of his car in an undisclosed location. "He left and went to buy a new cell phone, and while he was at the Wal-Mart, somebody cut two of his tires," Barnes told the Birmingham News.
Barnes also reported that Updyke is bathing himself in a local creek.
Updyke, who was charged with first-degree criminal mischief for the tree poisonings, is currently free on bond. According to his attorney, a preliminary hearing for the case will be held March 2.