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.”