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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Affidavit: Finebaum call, suspicious phone message to AU professor led police to Updyke

A call to The Paul Finebaum Show and a suspicious voice message to an Auburn professor led police to arrest 62-year-old Harvey Almorn Updyke in the Toomer's Corner oak trees poisonings, according to an affidavit filed Thursday.

Updyke was arrested early Thursday morning for criminal mischief in the first degree, a Class C felony. He is being held on $50,000 bond and faces one to 10 years in prison if convicted.

A court affidavit revealed that around Jan. 28, Auburn police were made aware of a telephone call to The Paul Finebaum Show by a caller named "Al from Dadeville," who claimed to have poisoned the historic Auburn trees at Toomer's Corner using a herbicide called Spike 80DF. Soil tests confirmed the presence of the substance.

A professor at Auburn's Turfgrass Management and Weed Science also received a suspicious telephone message around Feb. 7 from someone who claimed to have knowledge about the tree's poisoning.

The message was recorded and was consistent with the voice on the radio show, according to the affidavit.

Auburn police obtained telephone records from Auburn University and made a covert call to the number from the suspicious message. The voice that answered was consistent with the voice on the radio show and message. Police came upon Updyke as a suspect after an investigation.

Updyke made an oral statement to police admitting to making the phone calls to the Finebaum Radio Show and the Auburn professor, the affidavit said. He later denied actually poisoning the trees.

Additionally, Lee County District Attorney Robert Treese asked the court to add three conditions towards the $50,000 bond for Updyke: prohibit him from entering the Auburn campus, prohibit him from possessing any firearms, weapons, or any toxic or dangerous chemicals, substances, or herbicdes and mandating he enter an anger management program

Updyke's court-appointed attorney is Philip Tyler. He could not be immediately reached for comment.


Anonymous said...

Why does this man get a court appointed attorney? If he has a house on the lake in Dadeville, sell the house and pay for his attorney! The state of AL should not have to pay for him. If he has worked in law enforcement in TX, then he has a pension. He pays for the attorney. Does the man have a job now or is he retired?

Anonymous said...

I agree. He has cost the state of Alabama more than just money. I say send him back to Texas and put a shoot to kill sign on him if he ever steps foot into our great state again. This needs to be nipped in the bud so someone would have to think more than twice about doing something of this nature to our SEC traditions. May God be with his soul because he has messed with the wrong group of people..... the people of Alabama

Anonymous said...

It is truly sad what some people will sink to. Unless you a Diehard Auburn fan you will never unstand what those trees and that corner means to the Auburn family. It something you can pass on to you kids,it seeing you childrn after a win rolling the trees, it the friends and the memories that are made. That corner is a landmark that definds Auburn. There is so much history there. Ever worse that the person who did it . it the spinless that condone it. there some people that post on espn Auburn boards as well as other places that condone what this POS did by make jokes and taking shots at Auburn and there Auburn family. They don't have a clue. It's not just trees, it not the rolling. it much more. One day we all loose things that mean so much to us. when it happens to those who condoned it then maybe just maybe they will halfway understand what this guy did was so wrong in so many ways.

CoryG89 said...

I think it's sad that everyone is so willing to throw out their own right to a court appointed attorney. You cannot only give it to some. Idiots. That's why they are rights, not privileges.

ExKnightMike said...

He doesn't own the house on the lake. The owner is letting him use it, for reasons that are not yet clear, so it can't be used as security on a loan to pay a lawyer.

The fans of other schools that think this somehow permanently damages Auburn don't understand Auburn or Auburn people. All some action like this does is fills the Auburn family with resolve.