German man admits to torching iconic Auburn University tree

On the left, the Toomer's Oak one day after the fire. On the right, the tree up in flames following Auburn's win over LSU. (Courtesy: Auburn Football on Facebook)

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.

29-year-old Jochen Wiest
29-year-old Jochen Wiest

Jochen Wiest 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.

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