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Auburn tree poisoning suspect released on bail

Tree Murderer

(Writer’s note: I will never, never get tired of this mugshot)

Harvey Almorn Updyke, the man arrested on suspicion of poisoning the live oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, has been released from jail after posting $50,000 bail.

Updyke was arrested late Wednesday night and charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief after his (supposed) alter ego, “Al from Dadeville”, called into a local radio show declaring victory and triumph for his completely senseless act.

Assuming Updyke is indeed the nut job who poisoned the oaks with Spike 80DF (we have to be careful about assumptions), posting bail will have been about the only thing that’s gone his way thus far.

Updyke’s court appointed lawyer has already sent in a motion to withdraw from the case and an act that could have divided two fan bases has, instead, created some sense of unity between them.

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22 Responses to “Auburn tree poisoning suspect released on bail”
  1. irishking says: Feb 18, 2011 11:06 PM

    What is the court appointed lawyer’s reason for trying to withdraw? Sounds like he is prejudicing the interests of his client.

  2. Ben Kercheval says: Feb 18, 2011 11:09 PM


    the lawyer sent a motion to withdraw because he is a part-time professor at Auburn, his law firm represents Auburn and he had family ties to the university.

  3. irishking says: Feb 18, 2011 11:13 PM

    what was the trial judge thinking appointing him to represent the accused poisoner of the sacred Auburn tree?

  4. lbijake says: Feb 18, 2011 11:24 PM

    I hope they put armed guards at all the lawn centers in the area.

  5. rgl681 says: Feb 19, 2011 1:00 AM

    I can help myself- Bubba better hope someone doesn’t “spike” him while he’s out on bail.

  6. rashardmendenballs says: Feb 19, 2011 1:07 AM

    After reading all of the comments on this board and on other boards, I now see why Alabama ranks 48th in education.

  7. Ben Kercheval says: Feb 19, 2011 1:27 AM

    I’d have to default that question to Florio over at PFT. He’s the lawyer, after all. I don’t know how the selection process works, but my guess is that they don’t put a ton of emphasis on minute details like which university the lawyer’s associated with.

  8. driftw00d says: Feb 19, 2011 5:00 AM

    King Hippo from Punch-Out!!

  9. writtenbyross says: Feb 19, 2011 7:41 AM

    I’d be a little on edge if I was Saban or one of the Alabama fans that have publically denounced this guy. He is clearly unstable and doesn’t understand how the world works. Hopefully he’s realized what a crazy decision this was and doesn’t go after them for not recognizing his “love” for the university. Yikes.

  10. aufannola says: Feb 19, 2011 9:42 AM

    Am I the only person that thinks “Al from Dadeville” looks like Ned Beatty in Deliverance?

  11. southernpatriots says: Feb 19, 2011 9:50 AM

    Our heart goes out to the Auburn University fans and alums and to all sound minded good fans of Alabama as well. One crazed lunatic fan did this horrid vandalism to two (and maybe many more!) venerable iconic Southern oak trees at Toomer’s Corner. Some have ridiculed the death of these two trees. We offer this world renowned poem for all Auburn alums, fans, and supporters from UA and all the state of Alabama, the U.S. and the world:

    Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918


    I THINK that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    May the work of Alabama fans to raise money and others help bring a healing to this horrible situation. God bless you all!

  12. overratedgators says: Feb 19, 2011 10:38 AM

    Irishking: when a lawyer signs up to handle court appointed cases, his/her name just goes on a list and judges pull names off the list in order. That’s the beginning and end of the judge’s role in the appointment process. After that, the attorney involved has the responsibility of identifying whether there’s any conflict of interest. If the attorney fails to identify, and self-report a conflict, and the conflict is later brought to the court’s attention (by the client, or another lawyer) the attorney can be disciplined (including taking away the attorney’s license to practice law).

    Bottom line: the judge didn’t identify the conflict, because it isn’t the judge’s job to do so. It’s the attorney’s job, and it sounds like he did it correctly.

  13. irishking says: Feb 19, 2011 11:10 AM

    In any event, I hope that Alabama fan defendant does a little better next time with court-appointed counsel.

  14. southernpatriots says: Feb 19, 2011 11:27 AM

    irishking: We agree. Somehow we think that he won’t have a “defense fund” set up by anyone.

  15. 4803daddyof3 says: Feb 19, 2011 12:37 PM

    They should let the Ents have him.

  16. irishking says: Feb 19, 2011 1:20 PM

    Apparently the police were able to track him down based upon a call to a radio station. The guy may have just been shooting his mouth off and now he’s caught in an avalanche of trouble. I’d like to see some physical evidence connecting him to the poisoning of those sacred Oak trees such as fingerprints left on the container of poisonous Spike, his DNA from urine in the ground around the trees, surveilance camera tape showing him pouring the Spike around those trees, etc.

  17. PanchoHerreraFanClub says: Feb 19, 2011 1:55 PM

    This makes the Vick case pale by comparsion.

  18. southernpatriots says: Feb 19, 2011 3:18 PM

    irishking: It may have been the telephone call this vandal made to the University, we heard that it was the president’s office, that the detectives traced to get him, but though the origin of the trace may have been different from your posting the process was the same. From reports from Auburn radio stations, on campus, in the city, the evidence is still being gathered, but it appears from all indications, they have quite a bit already, including tracing the purchase of the tree killer, etc. It will be a story that won’t go away for quite some time because of the great effort to save or replant the trees, excavation of all the soil anywhere near, saving the majestic magnolias and live oak nearby, donations being made by Alabama students, alums, and supporters to several funds, and of course the trial which should start about this time next year, if he does not plead. Most in the legal profession we know, think he will plead to a lesser crime and (after a psychiatric examination–we added that…sorry) receive a fine and probation. If these lawyers are correct, it will kind of go away with no drawn out trial. This is such a sad situation for Auburn and the amount of grief that Bama is taking when they did not do anything, it was just a crazed overzealous vandal fan.

  19. irishking says: Feb 19, 2011 6:33 PM

    Could a retired Texas Trooper be dumb enough to charge the tree poison on his credit card?

  20. irishking says: Feb 20, 2011 9:48 AM

    There has to be more to this story than meets the eye. I read that Updyke’s son said his father was on 21 different medications and in very bad health. If he also suffers from syncope due to insufficient blood flow to the brain, Updyke could have thought he was tearing a goal post down when he went after those massive oak trees standing at Toomer’s Corner.

  21. southernpatriots says: Feb 20, 2011 11:18 AM

    irishking: If the report is accurate he may have a defense to lessen the consequences. You could be correct about the goal posts. When he brings up an incident that happened (or according to many witnesses did not happen) about 20 years before as provocation for this vandalism, it does indicate he was not mentally functioning well.

  22. mysticdriver says: Feb 20, 2011 11:22 AM

    @ Irish

    Why so many posts? Nobody to talk to? All the other patients in the ward having family visitation this week-end? Sucks being all by yourself huh?

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