Of course he was.
Accused attempted tree murderer Harvey Updyke is back in the news yet again, and unfortunately the University of Alabama is once again attached to the actions of the über-“fan”.
In a press release sent out Friday evening, Alabama confirmed that Updyke was “escorted” from yesterday’s SEC softball tournament, which is being held on the Tuscaloosa campus. Updyke was apparently in attendance to root on the Lady Tide in their semifinal matchup with Georgia.
From the terseness of the statement, it doesn’t sound like the university was very pleased with both having to deal with Updyke being on their campus and then addressing it with the media.
“Mr. Harvey Updyke was asked by University of Alabama officials to leave today’s softball game and he complied,” the statement read. “Several months ago, the University issued a formal directive to Mr. Updyke stating that he is not to come to the University of Alabama campus. Mr. Updyke has no affiliation with the University of Alabama and does not represent the institution in any way. The University of Alabama will have no further statement on this matter.”
The reason behind the formal directive from the university is, of course, because Updyke has been charged with poisoning the trees at Auburn’s famed Toomer’s Corner back in late 2010. Why Updyke decided to come to Tuscaloosa for the softball tourney is unclear, although anyone delusional enough to (allegedly) poison some oak trees is also delusional enough to think the university would forget about banning him from campus in the first place.
Andrew Gribble of the Birmingham News wrote on Twitter a short time ago that he’s “[b]een told that Updyke was sitting in a lawn chair… [behind] the outfield [fence]. He clearly wasn’t trying to hide.”
Of course he wasn’t.
The 63-year-old Updyke has been charged with “separate counts of felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor desecration of a venerated object and felony unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility” for each of the two oak trees he’s accused of poisoning. The trial is set to commence June 13.
The trees, on the other hand, have shown signs of growth recently and horticulturists are “cautiously optimistic” the venerable oaks may survive.