German man admits to torching iconic Auburn University tree
OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) -- A German man has pleaded guilty and apologized after setting a fire that engulfed an oak tree at Auburn University's landmark Toomer's Corner.
Jochen Weist pleaded guilty to criminal mischief Thursday in Lee County. Asked to speak, Weist said: "I'm sorry."
The Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/2ig3Uml ) reports the man agreed to pay more than $20,000 in restitution. He will avoid jail time with a three-year suspended sentence and five years on probation.
A prosecutor says the man likely will get his passport to return to Germany.
The 29-year-old Wiest was accused of setting fire to toilet paper that fans used to roll the oaks after the Auburn-Louisiana State University football game this season.
The tree that burned was a replacement for one poisoned by an Alabama fan about six years ago.