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Auburn tree poisoning suspect alleges attack outside Opelika gas station

Harvey Updyke AP

A story that was bizarre enough to begin with has taken an abrupt turn toward the plot of a really, really bad made-for-TV movie.

Shortly after Harvey Updyke‘s court appearance for his arrest for allegedly poisoning the Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner oaks, Updyke’s attorney appeared on Paul Finebaum‘s radio show for an interview.  And dropped the latest bizarre twist in the long-running Auburn-Alabama soap opera.

According to Glennon Threatt, his client was physically assaulted outside of an Opelika gas station shortly after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing this afternoon.  That’s right, the alleged tree attacker has now become the alleged victim.  Or, as Nashville radio host Clay Travis put it on Twitter: “Alabama = bat**** insane“.

Updyke claimed to a gas station employee that he was “jumped from behind the store”, and police who interviewed the Tide fan said he had a scratch on his forehead.

“Somewhere right outside of Opelika Harvey stopped at a gas station to get a drink and some gas, and when he got out of his car, it went black,” Threatt said on Finebaum’s show. “He woke up on the ground. He had been hit in the head with something. He wandered into the gas station in pain, and they directed him to a local emergency room.”

Threatt went on to claim that Updyke suffered facial bruises and a split brow, and that “he may have a slight concussion”.  Updyke has since been released from the emergency room, and the Opelika-Auburn police department is investigating his claims.

There’s no word yet on whether a female who goes by the name of “Lady Karma” was in the area at the time of the attack.

UPDATED 8:28 p.m. ET: The Hottest Auburn Blog on the Net (HABOTN) has posted a very interesting piece that casts some serious doubts on Updyke’s claims that he was attacked.  It’s worth a look, so click HERE.

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30 Responses to “Auburn tree poisoning suspect alleges attack outside Opelika gas station”
  1. antiherogoodkind says: Apr 20, 2011 6:08 PM

    Alabama is totally crazy, though.

  2. sc0820 says: Apr 20, 2011 6:22 PM

    Trying to get a change of venue, ppl

  3. sc0820 says: Apr 20, 2011 6:27 PM

    I know this gas station and if this guy has been living in a van down by the river as has been stated, there is no chance in hell he would have gone to the one gas station in auburn that is actually named after the school…unless he was up to something…

  4. sc0820 says: Apr 20, 2011 6:33 PM

    I think he believes that if he can even produce the slightest angle that could make auburn the bad guy in this, then the Bama faithful will ‘rise up’ and fight with him.
    But other than a few idiotic postings on blogs, I don’t think Bama folks are going to publicly help this guy.
    And by Bama folks I mean CBS, foxsports. and nytimes

  5. sc0820 says: Apr 20, 2011 6:54 PM

    Oops, I was wrong. Just saw the FoxSports article comparing us to dodgers fans and serial killers

  6. Deb says: Apr 20, 2011 7:25 PM

    @sco820 …

    If you believe Updyke has the wherewithal to strategize a plan to gain public sympathy, you’re giving him credit for more brains than I would.

    Clay Travis can take a flying leap because heaven knows no one from Tennessee should ever comment on the peculiarities of Alabamians.

    But Updyke is certainly batsh*t crazy. He proved that when he stealthed out at night to poison a university’s landmark oak trees … then called a radio station months later to brag about it. Now that we know he actually named his child Crimson Tyde … I’m a diehard football fan, but that is just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. People who go that far ruin the fun for all of us. He needs serious psychiatric intervention, and I’d take any claim he makes with a hefty dose of salt.

  7. John Taylor says: Apr 20, 2011 7:29 PM

    Hey Deb, that’s his daughter’s name. His son’s name? Bear. Seriously.

  8. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 20, 2011 7:32 PM

    How sad.

    Don’t Alabamians(is that a word?) have anything else to do with their life than kiss Saban’s feet, power wash their trailers, and hillbilly attack innocent people?
    It’s pathetic how grown arse adults hang around and still try to relive their young college days. YOU ARE ADULTS NOW, ACT LIKE IT.
    This poor man was just minding his business and a group of hillbilly hooligans mug and assault him.
    Has anybody thought to tell the simpletons from Alabama that it’s just a school? Do you really think that University gives a crap about them? Do you think the university thinks about them day and night like those idiots think about the school?
    Do you think the 18-22 year old players give an ounce of thought to any of the middle aged hangers on?

  9. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 20, 2011 7:35 PM

    Sorry, let me clarify……..

    None of the 18-22 year old players give an ounce of thought to any of the middle aged hangers on……..except those players on the Tide payroll.

  10. tryagainplease says: Apr 20, 2011 8:21 PM

    iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: How sad.

    yes, your lame posts (seriously can’t come up with something more creative and ‘new’ than hillbilly repeated over and over?) are sad and pathetic and weak.

  11. rolltide510 says: Apr 20, 2011 8:31 PM

    “And by Bama folks I mean CBS, foxsports. and nytimes”

    Speechless bro. CBS, Fox, and the New York Times are somehow on the Bama payroll because they report dog-bites-man stories about auburn pay for play?

    “None of the 18-22 year old players give an ounce of thought to any of the middle aged hangers on……..except those players on the Tide payroll.”

    You’d think that after months of non-stop allegations of auburn paying players there would be this stones/glass houses mentality from the auburn faithful, but I guess since we’ve established they think all major media outlets have been paid by Alabama to write mean lies about auburn this is pretty much out the window, huh?

  12. overratedgators says: Apr 20, 2011 8:38 PM

    Police have released a composite sketch of the alleged attacker:

  13. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 20, 2011 8:50 PM


    Let me make it clearer for you Ernest T. Bass.
    Come out of the sticks, sit down your brown jug, and get some learnin.
    food stamps are NOT money
    relations with your aunt/sister/cousin is ILLEGAL
    Bib Coveralls IS NOT proper funeral attire
    Taking baths in the creek is NOT acceptable
    Toothpaste IS good for you

    Next time you ATTEMPT to sound intelligent………………..Try Again Please, okay?

  14. sc0820 says: Apr 20, 2011 9:07 PM

    Auburn Family portrait:

  15. gatiger says: Apr 20, 2011 9:13 PM

    Auburn-Opelika are two small towns connected to each other. If he was in Opelika, he might as well have been in Auburn. Neither would be a good idea for him.

    Pretty sure they don’t want him in Tuscaloosa, KNOW we don’t want him in Auburn!

  16. dcroz says: Apr 20, 2011 10:33 PM


    Updyke may not have the brains to come up with something like this, but his attorney does. Threatt was on Finebaum’s show the day after Updyke was arrested, saying that he had just been retained as his counsel (after two or three others had quit) and even though he had never met Updyke and had only spoken to him briefly, he was saying things about Updyke and the case in general that smelled suspicious. It was as if he had already been planning his path to sabotaging any trial that would result from this sordid little episode.

    And let’s face it: the alleged circumstances of today’s incident are highly suspect. If I were Updyke, I would have gotten as far away from the Auburn/Opelika area as possible before stopping for anything, yet here he was stopping at a gas station named for the Tigers for all to see. There has been conflicting accounts as to the nature of his injuries, but he left the emergency room before being seen, so it must not have been as severe as Threatt made it out to be. There are also conflicting stories about the anonymous call to a Montgomery television station reporting that Updyke had been stabbed (not beaten) and why someone would call a CBS affiliate that isn’t even seen in Auburn (they get the one out of Columbus, GA).

    This whole thing makes no sense, which raises at least my suspicions that it was all staged to try and drum up some sympathy for Updyke. Stay tuned….

  17. Deb says: Apr 20, 2011 11:04 PM

    Hey, dcroz …

    If the attorney thinks he’ll drum up sympathy for that nut … he’s nuts, too. And why is this going to trial? Oh yes … the judge rejected the plea deal. Glad Alabama has money to burn on nonsense. Things are a little tougher in the Sunshine State. This should have been pled long ago. And if that nut was hanging out in Opelika as much as his photo’s been circulated, he deserves a whack in the head.

    @iamtalking …

    Yes, Alabamian is a word. You remind me of a friend who cracked up hearing me use the term Hitchcockian and swore I made it up. No, that’s a word, too. Both have been in Webster’s for decades.

    Don’t know what tryagainplease looks like but doubt my SEC gal pal resembles Ernest T. Sorry, Cro Magnon, but it’s the 21st century and you will encounter women on football blogs. Time to update your schtick.

  18. Deb says: Apr 20, 2011 11:10 PM

    @JT …

    Actually I’m relieved to know Crimson is a girl. Was a little concerned about that. I could see Crimson or Bear for a middle name … maybe. Or Paul … what’s wrong with Paul? But Tyde? And poisoning the trees? That’s like the Bears fan who blinded the Steelers fan in a bar. Some people are flat out of their minds … and so are the people who get offended and thumbs down when you say so.

  19. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 21, 2011 7:41 AM

    If tryingagainplease is a female then that makes my comment even more on point. I would have expected a lil more smarts out of her.
    But I give her credit for walking miles to find a library, syphering out how to turn it on and log on, look up my legendary status on comments at PFT, one finger enter in the comment post what her lil sister/cousin said.

    I’m flattered that she holds me in such high regard, but I think her time should be focused on more important duties.
    Tending to the dozen or so lil tykes running around from 11 different hillbillies, cleaning up her 1964 trailer, collecting her food stamps and WIC for the children, and heating up the latest road kill dish leftovers.

  20. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 21, 2011 7:43 AM

    Why was a Steelers fan in a Bears fan bar in the first place?

  21. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 21, 2011 7:45 AM


    I am impressed with the spunk and feistiness you displayed by defending against my hillbilly remarks.
    The 11 different baby daddies sure must be proud of you.

  22. dexterismyhero says: Apr 21, 2011 11:36 AM

    He poisened a tree people. Geez, get over it. This shouldn’t even be news anymore. Like Deb said. Why didn’t they take a plea? Spending state funds to prosecute this guy is nuts.

  23. Deb says: Apr 21, 2011 12:38 PM

    @iamtalking …

    It’s sad to see a man so down on his luck that he’d resort to drinking kerosene. Wicked stuff. Bless your heart.

    Why is a self-proclaimed, a-hem, “Southern gentlemen,” railing about the South and attacking Southern women. If tryagainplease were in the mood for kerosene-soaked ham, she’d have you for breakfast.

    The Steelers played the Bears in Chicago and these guys stopped to have a drink after the game–which Chicago won. It doesn’t matter why they were there or if they were obnoxious or just wearing Steelers jerseys (and I don’t know the details). It’s insanity to put something in a guy’s drink that lands him in the hospital without the use of his eyes simply because you don’t like his football team.

    It’s insanity for an adult man to body tackle a 9-year-old child in a parking lot because he’s wearing the jersey of the opposing team. It’s insanity for a 62-year-old man to buy enough plant killer to cover an acre, steal onto a campus, and poison a university’s 150-year-old landmark oak trees because of a football rivalry.

    These people are like the fans who murder celebrities because they don’t love them back. They don’t know where and how to draw the line so they become dangers to themselves and society.

  24. dcroz says: Apr 21, 2011 8:58 PM

    Updyke was on Finebaum today for about 45 minutes via phone, and his attorney was on for another 45 after that. While he sounded like he all but confessed, he and his attorney continue to maintain his innocence.

    A called to the show suggested another explanation for Updyke’s misadventure: Updyke is a diabetic, and he said he stopped by the store to buy some green tea since he had had little to drink all day. The caller said he may have blacked out from low blood sugar and hit his head on the ground when he fell. Sounds as plausible as the other suggestions presented so far.

    The Lee County grand jury will hear this case in two weeks, so don’t expect this story to go away anytime soon.

  25. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 21, 2011 10:00 PM

    you make no sense at all. try not to think so hard.
    But it’s ok, cause your opinions and thoughts are irrelevent. Just like 90% of your posts on football related matters, it just don’t fly hun.

  26. secgreatness says: Apr 22, 2011 12:56 AM


    Some post on here are funny, some are just ignorant and classless. Based on reading a few of your post I can tell that “higher” education must be hard to come by. Is it just a coincidence that random people join this site to “rag” on us SEC folks? Whatever makes you feel big and bad behind your keyboard, knock yourself out. There’s only one way to shut us up, WIN. Beat us on the field that’s where we do our talking.
    Now continue to impress us with your lame brained hick and hillbilly jokes, while we laugh at you and point to the scoreboard. BTW, where are you from?

  27. Deb says: Apr 22, 2011 12:13 PM

    @secgreatness …

    He’s a very confused guy … one minute claiming to be a Southern gentleman and the next blathering bizarre hillbilly jokes. Either he’s resorted to drinking lighter fluid or he’s in rehab somewhere detoxing.

    @dcroz …

    I just don’t get the need for a grand jury in this case. The guy confessed on a radio show for millions of listeners. How can they proclaim his innocence. As rotten as it was, we’re still talking about trees. They need to plead it out and save the taxpayers their money.

    Green tea? That’s not what the diabetics I know go for in a crisis. This whole thing just gets more and more bizarre. I wonder if he was in the studio wearing the elephant hat.

  28. dcroz says: Apr 22, 2011 9:05 PM


    Confession on a radio show and confession in a court of law are different things. There are any number of ways that Threatt can have what Updyke said supressed, and frankly it sounds more and more like he is trying his best to prejudice any jury in the whole state so that he can have a change of venue. Updyke is pleading “Not Guilty”–at least for now–so the judicial process is grinding its way along.

    As for the grand jury: Updyke is charged with first-degree criminal mischief, which in Alabama is defined as maliciously causing property damage in excess of $1,000 and is a Class C felony. All felonies must go before a grand jury for it to decide whether to hand down an indictment so the case can proceed to a jury trial. The grand jury is not called specially for the case; all counties in Alabama call a grand jury four times a year for the purpose of hearing dozens–even hundreds–of cases to decide on what action to take. I served on a grand jury in my county about ten years ago, and we had over 100 cases on the docket that we heard over a two-week period; the one before us had twice as many.

    As far as a plea bargain goes, it seems I remember hearing on the Finebaum show that a plea deal was offered but rejected by the judge. I could be mistaken on that, though.

  29. Deb says: Apr 22, 2011 11:50 PM

    Yes, I think John posted that a plea deal with rejected … which just seems nuts to me. Can you imagine the trial for this thing? Good grief!

  30. uncz1978 says: Apr 26, 2011 2:27 PM

    I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing to someone trying to posion the Davie Poplar (where legend says Gen. Davie and the committee from the Legis. spent the night when the decision was made for the site of UNC).

    This is a holy place to Carolina Alums and anyone trying to kill it would draw the wrath of the the Tar Heel Nation.

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