Harvey Updyke, who poisoned Auburn’s oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, dead at 71

Harvey Updyke, known for poisoning Auburn’s oak trees, dead at 71

Harvey Updyke, a University of Alabama football fan who made national news when he poisoned the oak trees at Auburn University nearly a decade ago, died Thursday. He was 71.

Updyke’s son, Bear Updyke, told AL.com that his father died of natural causes in Louisana.

In 2011, Harvey Updyke called into Paul Finebaum’s radio show and claimed he had poisoned Auburn’s iconic trees, exacting revenge for the Tigers’ upset victory against the Crimson Tide the previous November.

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“Let me tell you what I did,” Updyke told Finebaum during his telephone call. “The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn because I lived 30 miles away, and I poisoned the two Toomer’s trees. I put Spike 80DF in ‘em. They’re not dead yet, but they definitely will die.”

The elder Updyke pleaded guilty in 2013 to a felony charge of criminal damage of an agricultural facility, AL.com reported. He served more than 70 days in jail.

Updyke was ordered to pay $800,000 in court-ordered penalties and restitution, the website reported. However, he had only paid about $6,900 by last October, AL.com reported.

Updyke, a former Texas state trooper, loved Alabama football and coaching softball, WBRC reported.

Harvey Updyke, right, is shown departing the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Ala., in 2013. The man who poisoned Auburn University's famous oak trees at Toomer's Corner died at the age of 71.
Harvey Updyke, right, is shown departing the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Ala., in 2013. The man who poisoned Auburn University's famous oak trees at Toomer's Corner died at the age of 71. (Dave Martin/Associated Press file)