Alabama Fan Harvey Updyke Not Making Payments for Killing Auburn Trees

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

Harvey Updyke departs the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Ala., Monday, June 10, 2013. Updyke pleaded guilty in March to one count of unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail and credited with 104 days for time already served. The oaks were removed in April. Under his probation, Updyke is forbidden from attending any collegiate sports event, will have a 7 p.m. curfew and is banned from Auburn University. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Dave Martin/Associated Press

Harvey Updyke, the Alabama fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning the famous oak trees in Auburn's Toomer Corner in 2013, has been ordered back to court on Oct. 30 by Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes for missing court-ordered payments, according to WRBL News 3

As a part of his sentencing, Updyke was ordered to make $800,000 in restitution payments and serve over 70 days in jail, but he has paid back less than $5,000.

"Harvey Updyke has never left my radar. We have been keeping an eye on his payments or more specifically, his non-payment, and he has made exactly two payments for a total of $200 in the past year," Hughes told Elizabeth White of WRBL News 3. "Because of that, we have been looking for him for close to a year, and we finally found him."

If Updyke—who also served five years of probation—fails to appear for his day in court, Hughes said he would issue a warrant for Updyke's arrest.

"As long as I am in this office and he (Updyke) is still breathing, I am going to be a burr in his side under his saddle and make sure he pays what he owes," Hughes noted.

The oak trees in Toomer's Corner are famous as a part of Auburn's celebration after wins, when fans throw rolls of toilet paper on the trees. After Updyke poisoned them, the trees died and had to be replaced.

It was a display of the ugly side of the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn, and one Hughes is not inclined to let slide.

"He embraces his role as the villain when he goes to Alabama sporting events, which we know he has been back to an Alabama football game in Tuscaloosa in November," Hughes said. "If you have enough money to go see your team play, you have enough money to pay Auburn University."