OT: Toomer's Corner Poisoner Faces Up To 40 Years

Submitted by SanFrancisco_W… on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:32 PM



Sorry if this has been posted already, but I couldn't find it anywhere.  I read this and was left dumbfounded.  How can a guy be facing 40 years in federal-pound me in the ass-prison for poisoning some trees.  I can understand some punishment but I don't think I would ever wish 40 years on someone just for killing some trees.  Sure, if an OSU fan came into the Big House and completely poisoned all the grass, I'd be upset, but I wouldn't be calling for the head on a plank.

Secondly, how do they select jurors in this case? Does the prosecution come right out and ask where potential juror's football allegiances lie?


Just wondering what you all thought.  I was shocked at hearing this.  Also, it's a pretty good read for those who have not read it yet.



May 23rd, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

They're school property worth a couple hundred thousand dollars. Try seting a fire in the Big House press box or take the floor and some seats out of Crisler and you'd be looking at that much time too.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

I can see that, but I honestly don't think this guy deserves THAT much time.  Maybe a year or two, a hefty fine, and some serious probation.  I just think that if we are so worried about overcrowding in American prisons, this could be a reason why.  Someone with a drug related offense could do more time if it were't for this dude.  Or Dante Stallworth could have served a legitimate sentence for killing a man, not a tree.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

But I think the question is: What is the value of the trees? Can you put a monetary value on sentiment and rivalry?  The actual cost of the trees is quite an interesting conundrum IMO.  Truthfully, you could just go buy more and let them grow...From my understanding, they are being treated as venerated objects, which raises even more questions.

Steve in PA

May 23rd, 2011 at 3:54 PM ^

In my township they recently had to move a road to fix a blind corner.  The township used eminent domain and the homeowner took it to court because they thought the few feet of property and the oak tree were undervalued.

Court said that the lumber value of the tree was what mattered in regards to the tree.  

I wonder if they are looking at the longterm effects of the poison he used.  Is that now a mini Superfund site?  I honestly don't know, but I'm just picturing Bubba dumping the shit on the ground with a more-is-better mentality.


May 23rd, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

That's just an outrageously dumb standard. If he had walked into an art museum and thrown water all over a Monet, the standard shouldn't be the value of the canvas and paint, it should be the sale price or insured amount or something else reasonable. It's not the lumber in the tree that's valuable, it's the tree itself. Not to mention that the entire point of law is to make an injured party whole again; Auburn isn't exactly back to where it started with a stack of wood from Home Depot.


May 23rd, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

For starters one is not a man made piece of art.

I get what you're going but to compare the two is rediculous but I have to admit that I am probably the most (Un)enviromentally conscious person on the planet.

However I am sympathetic to the tradition and think the man should be punished but 40 years is a little steep IMHO.

To answer your question maybe the hedges at Georgia?


May 23rd, 2011 at 5:48 PM ^

The nature of the good isn't as important as just saying that they're both valuable in a few ways. You could say the same thing about a mountain or a painting or a house or any other good you can think of.

As I said above, I don't think imprisonment is the right punishment for property crimes. This joker should have to pay Auburn the cost of cleaning the soil and bringing in the most comperable trees they can find, and if he can't write a check for it, he should be forced to work until the payment plus interest is worked off.


May 24th, 2011 at 7:07 AM ^

There's no legal value for sentiment. It's completely irrelevant. Had he killed Uga or something, he probably wouldn't get 40 years in prison. (See Vick, Michael). It's likely a maximum sentence that his ultimate penalty won't approach. It was an extremely stupid thing to do, but still, it's way too much for poisoning trees that can be replanted. 

Don't mistake that I somehow support this clown or excuse what he did. But you can kill a person and not get 40 years in prison. 


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:38 PM ^

I know all there is to know.  I get that it isn't a cut and dry case of involuntary vehicular manslaughter, but either way, a man is dead because Stallworth hit him.  Now, I'm not saying that he deserves a huge sentence, I'm just saying that 26 days is a bit weak.  As for the drug offenders, I know there are WAY to many drug offenders, namely weed dealers, in prison.  I was just trying to come up with an easy offense.  I guess a better one to come up with would have been domestic violence offenders or something of the sort.


May 23rd, 2011 at 5:15 PM ^

I agree with you but it did bother me how you said someone with a drug related offense could do more time. Most drug related offenses dont even bother anyone. I think what this guy did to those trees is worse than any drug offense, not becuase what he did to the trees was that bad but a drug offense should not be as big of a deal as people make it out to be.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Everybody in the area has ties to Auburn and are going to be biased towards such. I believe the 40 year number just comes from adding the max penalties of every count that he's being charged with which its rare even if found guilty on all counts he would get the max penalty for each.  


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

No one ever faces the maximum unless they have previously been convicted of a felony, serious misdemeanor, etc. Having said that, this was a dispicable crime. Hate is what fuels rivalries, but not ACTUAL hate. Those trees were part of the essence and tradition of not just Auburn football but college football in general. Spewing obscenities is one thing--tearing down the school is another.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

As per one Brian Cook:

Q: is this literally the worst possible thing a single fan could do to a rival fanbase? I think so. I can't think of another tradition that's so treasured and so vulnerable. You could cut off Bear Bryant's head* and they'd just put a new one on. It's metal. You could kill Uga, but Uga dies every year and they just keep making new ones. The trees are unique: iconic symbols of the university that can expire but don't do it on the regular.

I think that's the fundamental difference between poisoning the grass at the Big House v. poisoning those trees. The trees are more or less irreplaceable, while most things a rival fanbase would vandalize are not. That said, I agree that 40 years would be excessive, but others have already pointed out that he probably won't get that much.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:49 PM ^

Yah, I don't expect him to get that much.  I just put up to 40 because that's what he is actually looking at if he gets the max.  My guess is he will still get around 10 years and get out after 5 or 6.  But still, it's a very intriguing case that I guess I put on the back burner until today when I read that article.


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

I think that's the fundamental difference between poisoning the grass at the Big House v. poisoning those trees.

Well, there's also the fact that the grass at the Big House, isn't real grass, so poisoning it probably wouldn't have nearly as big an impact as poisoning actual trees.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

They were century-old oak trees that were beloved by a community. Try ruining a century-old painting and then saying, "I just messed up an old canvas. What's the big deal?"

Why would anyone object to (what is essentially) a life-long imprisonment for someone so consumed by hate over something so trivial? Yeah, I love football too. But it's not real. It's a game. The rivalries between schools are FICTION. They serve as a proxy so we don't actually have to have Hatfield-McCoy type rivalries.

Yes, it's fun to tease hairless nuts and vice versa. But if you're actually motivated to commit an act of violence or some other sort of crime over this thing -- I think you ought to be irradiated lest you find an equally-insane member of the opposite sex and reproduce.

Frankly, I wouldn't put this guy in jail. I'd ban him from football for life. On Saturdays, he has to rake leaves in Auburn, Alabama for free. On Sundays, he has to pick up trash along the side of the road. He's not allowed to watch football or attend a game ever again. He's lost that privilege.

I don't think that punishment is on the books though...


May 23rd, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

Why would anyone object to (what is essentially) a life-long imprisonment for someone so consumed by hate over something so trivial?

Because poisoning trees shouldn't warrant a 40-year prison sentence?  You seem to agree, given your comment later in this same post ("I wouldn't put this guy in jail"). It's sad what happened to Auburn, but let's not go nuts.  They're trees.  Not human beings.  

While the guy deserves to be punished, this is one of those things that people will laugh their asses off about 20 years from now.  



May 23rd, 2011 at 6:37 PM ^

What is the "huge" monetary cost to Auburn University?  I doubt it's that signifcant to an institution worth in the nine-figure range.

The blow to tradition is the main issue here.  I agree that it's significant, but not the kind of thing that warrants having the state lock the guy up for decades.  This is carrying "tough on crime" reasoning to its extreme.  Put him on probation and make him serve several hundred hours of community service.