Harvey Updyke Jr. Sentenced to Six Months in Jail After Pleading Guilty in Auburn Tree-Poisoning Case


Toomers CornerAfter poisoning the oak trees at Auburn’s infamous Toomer’s Corner in 2010, Harvey Updyke Jr. has been sentenced to serve six months in jail.

The 64-year-old Alabama fan pleaded guilty on Friday to criminal damage of an agricultural facility, according to The Associated Press. The judge sentenced him to three years in prison, but Updyke will only have to serve six months of that sentence.

In addition, his plea deal also includes five years of unsupervised probation, a 7 p.m. curfew and Updyke will not be allowed to step foot on Auburn’s campus or attend any college sporting event.

Updyke was arrested after calling into a radio show and retelling the crime he had committed. He concluded the phone call with, “Roll Damn Tide.” According to court documents, Updyke admitted that it was him who had called in and he also admitted to leaving a message for an Auburn professor stating he had knowledge of the poisoning.

Updyke took the storied Alabama-Auburn rivalry too far when he used an herbicide to poison the oak trees during the 2010 football season. Toomer’s Corner, the place where Auburn students have been celebrating victories by throwing toilet paper on to the branches of the 130-year-old oaks was destroyed, and despite the school’s best efforts, the trees could not be saved after the incident.

The die-hard Bama fan had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease, but his defense attorneys determined he was mentally competent to stand trial in December, but still planned on using the insanity defense citing his mental condition then and now were different.

The historic trees, that now stand bare, will be removed on April 23. Auburn fans will have one more chance to celebrate at Toomer’s Corner, however, when they will participate in one final rolling during the April 20 spring football game. Auburn will then install a temporary fix to keep the tradition alive as wires and poles will fill the Corner after that date.

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