Harvey Updyke, Alabama fan convicted of poisoning famous trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, dies at 71

Harvey Updyke, the Alabama fan convicted of poisoning Toomer’s Oaks in Auburn, died Thursday, his son, Bear, told AL.com. He was 71 years old.

Updyke became infamous (or famous, depending on what part of Alabama you live in) when he poisoned the famous oak trees following the Tigers’ come-from-behind victory over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in 2010, Auburn’s national championship season.

He admitted the crime during a call into “The Paul Finebaum Show.”

“Let me tell you what I did,” Updyke said. “The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn because I lived 30 miles away, and I poisoned the two Toomer’s trees. I put Spike 80DF in ‘em. They’re not dead yet, but they definitely will die.” 

Harvey Updyke, a University of Alabama football fan, pleaded guilty to poisoning the Toomer's Oaks in 2010.

Updyke pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal damage in 2013 and spent time in jail. He was also required to pay $800,000 in restitution, but as of October, had paid less than $7,000 of that sum, according to court records.

At the time, Updyke’s doctor said he wasn’t well enough to travel to Opelika for court because he suffered from conditions including severe coronary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, strokes and depression.

Auburn re-planted the famous oak trees following the incident, and had to do so again in 2017 after someone set fire to the toilet paper draping them following a 2016 win.

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