Auburn tree poisoning suspect goes on radio show

The Alabama fan accused of poisoning his rival school’s famous

trees said on a Birmingham radio show that he is going to get what

he deserves and that he just has ”too much ‘Bama in me.”

Harvey Updyke Jr., accused of poisoning the oak trees at

Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, went on Paul Finebaum’s show on Thursday,

the same outlet he used in January to confess.

”I just don’t want it to be my legacy,” Updyke told Finebaum.

”I don’t want to go to my grave saying, ‘Harvey the tree

poisoner.’ I think in my life I’ve done a lot of good things, and

undoubtedly that wasn’t one of them.”

Police have said the Updyke, 62, has admitted making the

previous call to the radio station, while denying that he was the

one who poisoned the century-old trees. The oaks stand on a corner

long used for Auburn celebrations.

Updyke appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

Shortly after leaving, he told police, he was attacked at a gas

station. Opelika police said they have no witnesses or


Updyke said he doesn’t blame Auburn fans for being mad at him,

but ended his second appearance on the show the same way he did the

first, by declaring ”Roll Damn Tide.” He expressed remorse for

what he’s done – to Alabama.

”I have hurt the University of Alabama, I know I have,” he

said. ”And that’s the last thing I wanted to do. It started out as

a prank and they’re talking about putting me in prison for

poisoning the water table. It’s nowhere near to the end.”

He said he feared he’d never be able to attend another Alabama


Defense attorney Glennon Threatt Jr. also went on the show and

said he expects federal charges to be filed against his client

because a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency was

in the courtroom Wednesday.

Threatt did not immediately return a call from The Associated

Press seeking further comment.

Updyke used a famous Alabama play to talk about his


”If I was in Auburn’s place, I would be upset, too,” he said.

”I just want to tell them that really and truly I’m not a bad

person. I’m an Alabama fan. Tommy Lewis in the ’54 Cotton Bowl, he

come off the bench and tackled the Rice player that was running

down the field 20 yards in front of everybody else. They asked him

later, ‘Tommy why’d you do it?’ He said, ‘I just had too much ‘Bama

in me.’ All my life, people have told me I cared too much about


”I know they (Auburn fans) don’t feel sorry for me. I’m going

to get what I deserve, and I guess we’ll go from there.”

Updyke said he has gone from paying $300 a month to live in a

lakeside home owned by a friend to paying $900 monthly rent


He also said his family has been devastated.

”I think everybody is a little more afraid than I am,” he

said. ” I’m not worried about somebody hitting me or hurting me or

shooting me or any of that kind of stuff, but everybody else is and

it is taking a pretty good toll.”

He said he has grandchildren living in Texas and will have to

miss birthdays because he can’t travel beyond Louisiana.

He also talked about being a former Texas state trooper.

”I have put other police officers in jail. We have to separate

them. We don’t put them with the general population. I’m not

crying. I know some people are going to say, ‘Listen at him. You

should have thought of that before all this stuff’ … It’s going

to be pretty rough.”

The tone of the appearance was different from the January call.

Asked if he worried that poisoning the trees was against the law,

Updyke responded: ”Do you think I care? I really don’t.”