Harvey Updyke, who poisoned Auburn's iconic Toomer's Corner trees, dies at 71

Paola Ditto
Agosto 2, 2020

Updyke's son, Bear, told AL.com that Harvey died of natural causes in Louisiana, where he had been living.

Harvey Updyke loved Alabama football and coaching softball.

In 2011, the elder Updyke, a die-hard 'Bama football fan, became well-known in Alabama sports circles after he called into Paul Finebaum's radio show alleging he'd poisoned the Toomer's Corner trees at the university in Auburn - about 55 miles northwest of Montgomery - after the Tigers won the Iron Bowl in November 2010. His action came after Auburn's 2010 Iron Bowl victory.

Harvey was eventually tracked down and charged for the act ... and later, in 2013, he pled guilty to felony criminal damage. He had even left a message on the phone of a professor at Auburn University claiming that he had details of the person who had poisoned the trees.

Updyke called into the show as Al from Dadeville and then revealed what he did to a bemused Finebaum because he was upset that Auburn fans had put a Cam Newton jersey on the statue of Bear Bryant at Alabama. He was sentenced to three years in prison - he ended up serving six months - and five years' supervised probation. "Well let me tell you what I did".

Auburn has since dug up the trees and replaced the soil, planting new trees in their place.

He was also required to pay $800,000 in court-ordered penalties and restitution but had paid less than $7,000 of that amount as of last October.

AL.com first reported the news. This payment was made after the Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker began discussing placing Updyke in jail for non-payment of the restitution fees.

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