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Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, the man who poisoned the trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner, dies

Nick Bromberg
·2-min read

Infamous Alabama fan Harvey Updyke has died. He was 71.

Updyke’s family confirmed his death to Al.com Thursday night. Updyke called into the Paul Finebaum Show in 2011 to confess that he poisoned the oak trees at Auburn’s famous Toomer’s Corner after Auburn beat Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl on the way to a national title. Updyke called into the show as Al from Dadeville and then revealed what he did to a bemused Finebaum because he was upset that Auburn fans had put a Cam Newton jersey on the statue of Bear Bryant at Alabama.

”This year I was at the Iron Bowl and I saw where they put a Scam Newton jersey on Bear Bryant’s statue,” Updyke said. “Well let me tell you what I did. The weekend after the Iron Bowl I went to Auburn, Alabama because I live 30 miles away and I poisoned the two Toomer’s trees.”

Finebaum chuckled, thinking that “Al” surely wasn’t serious.

“I put Spike 80DF in them.”

Finebaum asked if the trees had died.

“They’re not dead yet but they definitely will die,” Updyke replied.

Sure enough, the trees died and Auburn had to replace them.

FILE - In this June 10, 2013, file photo, Harvey Updyke, left, departs the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Ala.,  with his bail bondsman and his attorney. The state's football fervor drew plenty of attention after the 2010 Iron Bowl, when Updyke, an Alabama fan, poisoned Auburn's two iconic oak trees at Toomer's Corner, whose branches were decorated with toilet paper during victory celebrations for decades. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
Harvey Updyke leaves jail after posting bail in 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

Updyke was sentenced to jail time

After his arrest, Updyke pleaded guilty via a plea deal to poisoning the two trees in 2013 and spent time in jail and was given probation in addition to being ordered to pay nearly $800,000 in restitution for the damage he did.

Updyke had a hard time paying that restitution. He was summoned back to court in October because he had paid approximately $5,000 of the money that he owed back to Auburn.

Updyke told a CBS News podcast in the spring of 2019 that he poisoned the oaks because he really, really disliked Auburn. He was cleared to talk about his case once his probationary period was over.

“I wanted Auburn people to hate me as much as I hate them,” he said.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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