Philip Tyler filed a motion in the District Court of Lee County on Thursday to be taken off the case, citing a "clear conflict" of interest.
Tyler's law firm currently represents Auburn University, the victim in the case. The motion also said Tyler was a former part-time professor at Auburn University and, as a resident in the city since 1988, has "numerous personal and family ties" to the school.
Updyke has been charged with criminal mischief, a Class C feloney, in relation to the tree poisonings but could face additional federal charges. He is being held on $50,000 bond.