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Sad Updyke Saga Comes to an End

By on March 22nd, 2013 in News 12 Comments »


After months of theatrics and legal maneuvering, Harvey Updyke, accused tree poisoner, has made a deal with the DA pleading guilty to destroying the iconic Toomer Oaks on the Auburn University campus.

The man who proclaimed his innocence to the media after declaring on a nationally syndicated radio show and later confessing to Plainsman reporter Andrew Yawn that he was guilty, cut a deal with Lee County DA Robbie Treese Friday afternoon.

Treese said Updyke has pled guilty to Criminal Damage to an Agriculture Facility, a class C felony, which will essentially allow him to get out of a possible 13 year sentence with just time served.

Updyke was ordered to pay restitution cost, sentenced to three years and remains incarcerated until he finishes serving at least six months of that time. He has 76 days left to complete the six months ‘incarceration time.’

After he is released on probation, he will be under supervised probation for five years and will not be allowed to attend any college athletic event. In addition, he is banned from being on Auburn University property. And he will be under a court  order not to speak with any representative of the media.

The way this guy has sought the spotlight, the latter may be the hardest thing for him to endure.

You had to know a deal would eventually be cut after Judge Jacob Walker had to end the trial when Updyke confessed to Yawn back in June, 2012.

For his part the DA said that with a full case docket, “I could not in good conscience justify financing a three week trial merely to arrive at no better a resolution.”

So on the eve of the University having to remove the beloved Oaks, the sad saga of “Al from Dadeville” and his infamous Spike 80DF poison will finally be over.

I must say I don’t take joy in the demise of a man who has ruined his life. I only feel sadness for the hurt he caused and the embarrassment he brought to those close to him. As this sad chapter comes to an end, lets remember his senseless acts represented no one but himself.

Finally, in a tribute to the oaks, the school will allow the treasured symbols to be rolled one last time when Auburn fans gather after the Tigers’ A-Day game on April 20. But it won’t be the last time we gather to celebrate.

No single act of lunacy can stop the Auburn family from celebrating special moments. No criminal act of vandalism can subdue the Auburn Sprit. And no act of hatred can stop what makes Auburn uniquely Auburn.                            


  1. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    Let him go, guys. Let him fade into the ignominy of that sad existence that has ever been his lot. His only self esteem was as a fan of a school he not only didn’t but couldn’t never attend. In the end, that wasn’t even enough or his jealousy wouldn’t have been triggered by any achievement of another school, rival or no.

    Too much Bama? No. Not near enough to fill that deep a pit of self esteem.

    When your sole memorable ‘achievement’ in a six decade plus life is a petty act of criminal mischief that would shame a ten-year-old, you’ve already lost the last scrap of claim to the word.

    He’s no Alabama fan. He’s just a shamed and pitiful person who never grew past the emotional age of a third grader. Those who celebrate him are equally lost and not worthy of consideration or engagement.

    Let him and his ilk ever walk the sidewalks of fandom, forever on the outside of all that is good and worthy concerning collegiate sports.

    • uglyjoe says:

      Thanks for the news ATM, and I couldn’t agree more with the comments, Sullivan013. We should also not lose the thought that this could have been people instead of trees; my bet is that whatever is firing wrong in Mr. Updyke’s head could give him the capacity to do something much worse. In my humble opinion, this whole episode has little to do with UA and AU and much to do with a troubled human being. I do sincerely hope he gets some positive counsel, spiritual or otherwise, before he meets his maker.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      I could agree with this IF he wasn’t embraced by bama fans in New Orleans after the event happened.

      But he was.

      I am sorry. I can’t see this the way you do Sully.

      This is another example of a messed up legal system.

      An example should have been made here. Instead… we have given leniency because of the topic of the crime. Its my belief that because of this limp noodle response the powers that be just made this a repeatable event. And THAT is truly hienous.

      This was never about Updyke. It was about allowing these type of acts to happen at all. A message could have been sent. Instead… we just gave an invitation. I think this will happen again… the sad truth is that it could have been prevented.


      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        No doubt. This was a pathetically flaccid response to what amounts to a gateway crime. Similar events will follow.

  2. WoodrowAU95 says:

    No matter how many titles they win, or claim. This (the above picture) will always be the face of the University of Alabama and I, for one, am delighted it is!!

  3. Im4Auburn says:

    Agree, a sad saga for all but nothing can hurt the Auburn spirit.

  4. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    He got off easy. I hope he spends the rest of his life regretting his actions.

  5. WarEagleEngr says:

    An appropriate sentence would be:

    1. Prohibited from attending any University of Alabama athletics events.

    2. Prohibited from wearing any University of Alabama apparel in public.

    3. Required to assist the Jordan-Hare stadium crew in cleaning the stadium after every home game, for five years. This is compulsory public service, to be supervised by the Lee County sheriff’s department.

    4. Required to plant two oak trees every spring in a public park, state park, or wildlife management area in Alabama (location to be determined by the state’s DNR), as long as the convicted lives.

  6. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Q: how much is “restitution costs”?

    Q: By “letting him go” does that somehow help Auburn and our own self esteem?

    I think this has been the worst case of injustice in the history of the rivalry. It has put a blight on the game that will tarnish it forever. I don’t think by simply accepting it will do anything for Auburn or for us.

    We didn’t have a choice here and that doesn’t make the solution any more palatable. I think we all know that if something had happened to Denny Chimes or any other landmark in Tuscaloosa it would have been handled differently.

    I hate to be the sour puss… but this mess was allowed to go on too long and for this kind of justice? That in and of itself is a travesty. Updyke will go down in history as a bama legend. His fifteen minutes of fame… went beyond the event and whether he is infamous or famous is all how you view him. The blow he has given Auburn will go well beyond the death of the trees at Toomers.


    But the thing that is truly scary? He has given an excuse that will be used again… so get ready for it. Because someone who has limited mental faculties… or simply has not sense of right or wrong will use this excuse again. I hope we are ready for this.


    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Answering my own question:

      Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty on Friday to criminal damage of an agricultural facility. The sentence requires him to serve at least six months in jail and spend five years on supervised probation for the Class C felony. He has been credited with 104 days already served.

      Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III also fined the former Texas state trooper $1,000. The probation terms include a 7 p.m. curfew and prohibit Updyke from going onto Auburn’s campus or attending a college sporting event.

      So, for serving in a county jail for six months… five years of supervised probation… and a $1000 fine… that all that happens to you when you murder a tradition?

      Mark my words… this is a mistake and a travesty of justice. My hope is that any other state that this occurs in… may they have the intestinal fortitude to do what is required to make an example of this “kind of fan”.

      Good sportsmanship should be the goal in anything we do. And when that doesn’t happen – it needs to be addressed. Immediately. In a way that will ALWAYS encourage to be a good sport… a gracious loser… and a humble winner.

      I don’t think this judgement does either.