Harvey Updyke Jr., the man accused of poisoning the live oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, broke his long-time silence (his non-verbal communication, though, has loud and clear) earlier today by appearing on the Paul Finebaum Show in what sounded to be an unscripted call-in.
Updyke, who was indicted in May on two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerable object and two counts of a state law, said he wanted to call in to let the people of Auburn know he was sorry for “the damage [he’d] done”, stopping just short of actually saying he poisoned the trees.
“This is not a publicity stunt,” Updyke said. “The way things have been going, I just need to do it. I may live to be 100, but I may not live to the rest of this week.
“I just want to tell the Auburn people that I’m truly sorry for all the damage I’ve done,” Updyke added. “I’m not asking for sympathy. All I’m asking is forgiveness…I want the people that’s Christians to understand I’ve done a lot of good in my life. I’ve never intentionally hurt anybody…until this.”
“Until poisoning the trees?” Finebaum probed.
“Paul, you know I can’t say that,” Updyke replied before eventually, and awkwardly, creating his own exit.
“I guess I’ve said enough,” Updyke said abruptly. “I guess I’ve done enough damage.”
Updykes’ trial has been delayed several times already and isn’t expected to begin this year. The trees at Toomer’s Corners have been examined by horticulturalists, and last time we heard, still have a fighting chance to survive.
(Tip of the cap: Birmingham News)