Auburn Team News

Toomer’s Corner tree fire starter to be reimbursed for overpayment

Auburn oaks Toomer's Corner
Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports

The man who set fire to one of Auburn’s famous oak trees at Toomer’s Corner last September will be receiving a reimbursement after overpaying his restitution, fines and fees.

According to, Lee County circuit court judge Jacob Walker III wrote Thursday after hearing earlier this month, it was of the court’s opinion that “there has been an overpayment of $3,887. This money represents the cash bond amount of $3,500 and an overpayment of $387.”

The money will be transferred to Wiest’s attorney and the restitution amount owed to Auburn University will remain with the clerk until the school submits bills or invoices via the district attorney’s office for the tree’s replacement.

Wiest, a German man, turned in a cashier’s check for $23,157, plus the cash bond of $3,500, for a total of $26,657 after agreeing in January to pay $20,807 in restitution, along with a $1,000 fine and court cost.

RELATED: Why have Auburn’s oaks at Toomer’s Corner become a target?

Wiest also was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence and five years of probation after pleading guilty to felony first-degree criminal mischief. Charges of desecration of a venerable object and public intoxication were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Wiest, who was living in Auburn, was caught on video lighting toilet paper hanging from the tree on fire during the early morning hours of Sept. 25 following Auburn’s 18-13 home win over LSU.

Wiest was arrested and charged not long after the incident occurred.

In February, Auburn replaced both Toomer’s Corner oak trees, including the one that wasn’t burned.

The original Toomer’s Oaks were removed in April 2013 and replaced on Feb. 14, 2015 after Alabama fan Harvey Updyke poisoned them following Auburn’s victory over Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl.

In the spot of the tree that set on fire, the newest tree marks the third replacement. The first replacement tree planted in that location was later replaced during the summer of 2015 after failing to take root.

Auburn fans will not be permitted to roll the trees this season while allowing for the new ones to establish themselves in their new locations. Per tradition, Tigers fans roll the two oak trees at Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper in celebration after every football win, along with other athletic victories.

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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