- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

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 (https://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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