Man arrested in Toomer's Corner trees poisoning case - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Man arrested in Toomer's Corner trees poisoning case

Harvey Updyke (Auburn Police Dept.) Harvey Updyke (Auburn Police Dept.)
Updyke during his first court hearing (Source: WBRC-TV) Updyke during his first court hearing (Source: WBRC-TV)

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - Dressed in black and white stripes, the formerTexas State Trooper who retired to Dadeville nodded and spoke occasionally to Circuit Judge Richard Hughes. Court documents show Harvey Updyke admitted to police that he made two phone calls stating his involvement in poisoning Auburn University's 130-year old oaks trees on Toomer's Corner, but he later denied poisoning the landmarks.

The first call was to "The Paul Finebaum Show" on January 27th. Court records show the second phone call was to an Auburn University professor on February 7th, in which Updyke claimed he had knowledge of the poisoning. Investigators matched the voice and phone numbers on the calls to Updyke and moved to arrest him. 

The arrest  came fewer than 24 hours after Auburn University confirmed the poisoning of the large oaks at the corner of College and Magnolia, two historic trees that mark the entrance to campus and the rallying place of celebrating Tiger fans.

Updyke, 62, was arrested early Thursday morning, accused of dumping a highly lethal herbicide called Spike 80DF on the oaks. Updyke, who supports Auburn University's arch-rival UA Crimson Tide, was charged with Criminal Mischief 1st degree, a felony. Many Tide fans have come out strongly condemning Updyke's actions.

At last check he still being held on $50,000 bond at the Lee County Detention Facility.

Conditions of bond that must be met by Updyke:
[Read Updyke's court documents
(.PDF)]

  1. Prohibited from being present on the Auburn University Campus or any auburn university property or facilities
  2. Cannot harass, annoy or otherwise commit any acts which would cause alarm toward any witnesses in this case, any Auburn University officials, students or law enforcement officials.
  3. Cannot possess any firearms, weapons, or any toxic or dangerous chemicals, substances or herbicides
  4. Must complete an anger management program
  5. Must be required to remain in regular contact with the bondsman who posts bond and he comply with any conditions set by said bondsman
  6. Cannot commit additional criminal offenses while on bond.

"This is good news for the campus and community, especially since we delayed announcing the bad news about the trees for a few days to protect the investigation that was in progress," said Auburn University President Dr. Jay Gogue. "We're proud of the City of Auburn's police department and hope this arrest brings a sense of resolution to our fans."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, State of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (Pesticide Management Section), Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office, Dadeville Police Department, and Auburn University are all involved in the case.

Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said he does not anticipate further arrests, but he did not rule it out.  

A Facebook profile with limited access registered to a "Harvey Updyke", including a photo that resembles the man in an earlier released mugshot, showed a man holding a baby and wearing a University of Alabama hat. The profile indicated the man lives in Mobile, Ala. and is a retired Texas State Trooper. The profile was taken down a short time before noon.

ALABAMA CRIMINAL CODE -
Criminal mischief in the first degree
(Section 13A-7-21)

(a) A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree if, with intent to damage property, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such right, he or she inflicts damages to property:

(1) In an amount exceeding $2,500 or

(2) By means of an explosion

(b) Criminal mischief is the first degree is a Class C felony

SENTENCING - Standard sentence is one year plus one day and a maximum of 10 years.

FINES - Up to $15,000, as well as restitution and court costs.

Note - These are merely codes. Actual punishments against the accused in this case have not been lodged. The suspect is innocent until proven guilty. 

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. WTVM and WBRC contributed to this report. All rights reserved.


RELATED STORIES

  • NewsMore>>

  • Administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention

    Administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention

    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-06-23 04:26:10 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 6:45 AM EDT2018-06-24 10:45:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...
    (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File). FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, an artificial turf soccer field sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The immigration detention facility has been retooled to house adults ...

    The Trump administration is calling for the expanded use of family detention for immigrant parents and children who are stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    More >>

    The Trump administration is calling for the expanded use of family detention for immigrant parents and children who are stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    More >>
  • Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog, wins World's Ugliest Dog title

    Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog, wins World's Ugliest Dog title

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:36 AM EDT2018-06-24 04:36:02 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 6:34 AM EDT2018-06-24 10:34:20 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu). Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog owned by Megan Brainard, stands onstage after being announced the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., Saturday, June 23, 2018.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu). Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog owned by Megan Brainard, stands onstage after being announced the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., Saturday, June 23, 2018.

    A 9-year-old English bulldog was named the winner of the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    More >>

    A 9-year-old English bulldog was named the winner of the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    More >>
  • US moves 100 coffins to N. Korean border for war remains

    US moves 100 coffins to N. Korean border for war remains

    Saturday, June 23 2018 5:16 AM EDT2018-06-23 09:16:27 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 6:23 AM EDT2018-06-24 10:23:47 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File). FILE- In this May 14, 1999, file photo, U.N. honor guards carry a coffin containing the remains of the American soldiers after it was returned from North Korea at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea. South Kore...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File). FILE- In this May 14, 1999, file photo, U.N. honor guards carry a coffin containing the remains of the American soldiers after it was returned from North Korea at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea. South Kore...

    The U.S. military says it is moving "assets" to a U.S. air base near South Korea's capital and to the inter-Korean border to prepare for North Korea's returning of the remains of U.S. soldiers who have been missing...

    More >>

    The U.S. military says it is moving "assets" to a U.S. air base near South Korea's capital and to the inter-Korean border to prepare for North Korea's returning of the remains of U.S. soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly