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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Harvey Updyke's new lawyer, friend/landlord talk on Paul Finebaum's radio show

We got a pretty big look into Harvey Updyke, the accused poisoner of the Toomer's Corner oak trees, today on Paul Finebaum's radio show today. He had Updyke's new attorney, Glennon Threatt, and his best friend, Wayne Barnes, aka FLORIBAMA on TiderInsiders.com, on the show for a lengthy discussion.

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Lots of stuff to go through. Let's do it bullet point style:
  • First up: Threatt, who is Updyke's fourth defense attorney, previously represented disgraced former mayor of Birmingham Larry Langford in his trial for public corruption.
  • Threatt: "I can tell you when I first talked to Harvey he sounded very downtrodden. He was very, very disappointed. He has been, in my view, denied some basic civil rights that anyone should get no matter what you're accused of. He spent the night in his car. He has very limited resources. He is exactly the kind of person the law requires to get adequate representation. Now he's facing a hostile crowd that rather than have a jury, he'll probably have a crowd of pitchforks and torches out there waiting for him."
  • On Updyke living in his car, Threatt said Updyke's landlord (more on him later) was getting pressured from the folks around that area not to let Updyke stay there anymore. "He is not a popular person in that part of the state right now," he said.
  • Threatt said Updyke is living in his car. He said his client is safe but would like to get him to a safer spot. "I don't think he was at all prepared for the maelstrom of public hatred that he received," Threatt said. "And I'm not saying that it was warranted, but I don't think he anticipated, I don't think anybody anticipated that this story would have the legs that it has on the national level."
  • What has Updyke told him? "I can tell you that he told me that he told you that he did it," Threatt said. "And he told the police something different. I don't know him well enough to know whether his belief system is consistent with the truth."
  • Threatt tells us a little bit about Updyke: Said he's a father, husband, retired state trooper who had a severe injury in a high speed chase and now has three fused vertebrae. He's also taking 20 medications.
  • Threatt said Updyke told him he didn't feel safe in jail. "He didn't. He said he didn't. Again, I wasn't there in the jail with him, but he said he felt threatened and he felt that he was threatened on multiple and repeated instances. That there were slurs that were made and he thought it was a little bit more than people egging him on. He thought that they were getting ready to do something to him. And that's why he responded to the press the way he did." (That last part was in reference to the middle finger to the cameras.)
  • Wait, the people in jail or the authorities who were running the jail? "By the authorities or other people in the jail. He felt that he was being taunted in a way and he was helpless. The point of jail is to make you feel controlled and helpless and secured in an environment in which you have no control. So when you're a (62)-year-old person who is used to being on the other side of the law ... I mean, one of the last people who ever want to go to jail is a former law enforcement officer."
  • Updyke's first two lawyers were court-appointed. A third didn't work out. Threatt is No. 4. "It's difficult when you've got people who are being thrust upon you and not people that you picked," he said.
  • Finebaum plays for Threatt the "Al from Dadeville" tape. Threatt's response: "I think he showed that he lacked consciousness of guilt. But I don't know if that's going to matter. We're not going to be placed in a situation where he's insane. I don't know enough about him to have any reason to believe he's incompetent. The fact that he wasn't aware of the total legal consequences of an act he intended to do, if he's incompetent, he's responsible for it."
  • He won't enter an insanity plea. Said that's rare and that Updyke certainly wouldn't qualify.
  • After a commercial break, we get Barnes on the phone. He is Updyke's "best friend," former landlord in Dadeville and a poster on an Alabama message board TiderInsiders.com named FLORIBAMA.
  • Barnes said he was with Updyke when he was let out of jail. They went to Walmart to get a new cell phone and when he came out, his tires were slashed. at that point, Barnes suggested he not stay in the house he was renting to him in Dadeville. "We just thought it was best that he go somewhere else," Barnes said.
  • It had to be in the state of Alabama, per court orders. Barnes said Updyke doesn't know anybody in the state, so he's staying in the woods in his car (I believe it's a Kia). Barnes described it as "living in his car by a creek."
  • "If I thought he was safe, he could stay (in the house) until Doomsday," Barnes said.
  • Barnes clears some things up. Said Updyke is 62, not 67. He is a retired Texas state trooper, not Alabama. Has four kids. He confirms that Updyke's children have Alabama-themed names. His daughter is Crimson Tyde Updyke. His son is Bear Bryant Updyke. He wanted to name his third daughter Ally Bama Updyke. His wife overruled him, saying "hell no." The child was named Megan.
  • Barnes said he does have the handle FLORIBAMA on the site TiderInsider.com. Posts on that site showed knowledge of the Spike 80DF poisoning of the Toomer's Corner oaks before the Finebaum call from "Al from Dadeville." Barnes said several people have access to his log-in information. "I've never posted anything negative on the site," Barnes said.
  • COMMERCIAL BREAK ... and we're back with more from Barnes. Back to the posts on the website "Harvey has admitted to the Auburn police department that he made those posts on TiderInsiders when he was questioned or interviewed," Barnes said.
  • Barnes said he was working in North Mississippi when he found out about the radio show call from "Al from Dadeville." Talked to Harvey later. He admitted to calling in to the radio show. "I said, 'Man, I don't know why in the world you would do something like that," Barnes said.
  • Was he concerned he would be caught? "He was very concerned," Barnes said. Also a former law enforcement officer, Barnes told Updyke that they probably had a caller ID system. "I said, you made a very, very poor judgment call to call Paul Finebaum, making those kind of allegations," Barnes said. "He became concerned about it, but it was too late. You couldn't put the bullet back in the gun, so to speak."
  • Barnes visited Updyke in jail on Friday. Also talked to lawyer in Montgomery (Jerry Blevins) to represent him. He stayed in the area while Updyke was bonded out. Stayed in Lee County area Friday night before returning to lake house in Dadeville on Saturday. There was news media there. They knew he couldn't stay there.
  • "I won't turn my back on him," Barnes said. "I don't approve of what he's done, if he's done this. But that's neither here nor there. He'll be punished."
  • To best of Barnes' knowledge, Updyke hadn't been to Alabama-Auburn football game until 2000. He didn't go to any more until 2009 when he moved to Alabama. The two of them went to the Rose Bowl following the 2009 season for the BCS national championship game against Texas.
  • "There's no question that Harvey's an Alabama fan. There's no question that I'm an Alabama fan," Barnes said. "But there is a difference between a fan and fanatic."
  • Some background on Updyke, per Barnes: Graduated (not sure where) in 1967, moved to Texas following mother's death in 1969 or '70. Didn't return until two years ago. Barnes said Updyke went to the Bluebonnet bowl in 1970 between Oklahoma and Alabama and ran on the field carrying a box of Tide and a roll of toilet paper.
  • Barnes' opinion on if Updyke did it: "If you asked me if Harvey called the radio station, I would have said yes. If you ask me if he might have committed this crime, I would say ... I can't imagine him doing it for the simple reason that to the best of my knowledge and belief, this would have been something done at night. I can't imagine with based on Harvey's health him taking the chance and doing something like that.
  • Barnes said he doesn't have any knowledge that Updyke knew anything about herbicides. "Nothing in his background of our friendship tells me he knew anything about any type of pesticide, herbicide or whatever you want to refer to it as."
  • Back to the Updyke's treatment in jail: Barnes said they kept him in a cell segregated from the prisoners (possibly a safety issue). But ... "for three days they didn't allow him to have his medication." (This is a point of contention, since he was arrested at 1:26 a.m. Thursday morning and released at 7:30 p.m. Friday, which is 42 hours, not three days). Barnes said they wouldn't let him shower and kept him in a straightjacket for the first 24 hours. "Naturally when he got released, he was a little upset," Barnes said. "As soon as he got in the truck, there's a camera in his face and unfortunately her made an error in judgment and did something he shouldn't have done." (This was a reference to the middle finger he gave the cameras.
  • OK, Barnes was cut off as they went to commercial. Coming back, there was more from Threatt. He says a possible reason for a straighjacket might be for him to not hurt himself. He couldn't imagine that at 62 he would be a threat to anyone else. He later said that he's dealt with the folks at Lee County jail and they're "very conscious of the standards of care that are required of prisoners." He said they do the best they can to secure the safety of the individual. "They probably had reason to believe that there was some psychological and emotional issues and they did it for Harvey," Threatt said.
  • Finebaum goes back to Barnes' notion that he didn't think Updyke is capable of doing something like this. Threatt's response: "It would not surprise me at all, and it would not be the first time that somebody took credit for a highly publicized criminal act and they had nothing to do with it. In many instances, when something like this occurs, there are people who call, crackpots and others who try to take credit for something because they believe that credit is something that they want to have. And so it wouldn't surprise me that he took credit for something that he didn't do." (Question from me: didn't he call to brag about this before anyone knew about it?)
  • Why would he do this? "He is an individual who may have some emotional and psychological problems," Threatt said.
  • Threatt said moving for a change of venue is a "delicate issue." Said you could end up in some place that could be worse. (Quick comment: not quite sure how that could be the case in this instance.) Said it's hard for defendant's to prove that an entire jurisdiction is unfair.
  • Threatt said he is doing this case pro bono. "I'm not rich but I've made enough to give back to the community," he said. Threatt has represented "indigent" clients since 1986. Threat said in his last conversation with Updyke, he didn't have his medicine and didn't have the money to go get it. He said he might pay for it out of pocket.
    • Also, he went to Princeton, so he's not an Auburn or Alabama fan.
    • "Harvey is a person who needs an aggressive advocate right now and not somebody who is just going to be a judge standing next to him," Threatt said. He said it wouldn't surprise him if there was a tort claim after the criminal proceeding but wouldn't worry about that until down the line. "Once I can ensure his freedom and his liberty, then we'll worry about somebody trying to get money from him down the line," he said.


    Unknown said...

    what harvey REALLY needs is some f'ing manners. civilized people don't behave like that, and he's getting only about .00001% of what he deserves.

    Anonymous said...

    Bahahahahaa That was a good read.

    postermom said...

    So Harvey's living in a van down by the river.

    Anonymous said...

    I've got a torch and a pitchfork ... what creek is he supposed to be parked by?

    Anonymous said...

    Poor, poor Harvey. The lawyer is playing the poor Harvey card when the sympathetic component won't work in the area he's in, if anywhere. Don't feel sorry for you Harvey. You made your bed.....

    MikeP said...

    Quoting Updyke's lawyer: "I don't know him well enough to know whether his belief system is consistent with the truth."

    I think he means he's got a liar for a client. No other way to read that.

    But what a picture! It caught 12 or 15 Updykes in one photo. I guess that's not so remarkable, rumor has it that sometimes nearly 100,000 Updykes can be found in the stadium known as Jordan-Hare West.

    Anonymous said...

    Poor Harvey is "indigent" but he can afford to go to the BCS Championship in Pasadena.

    easyedwin said...

    Isn't it funny that what goes around, eventually comes around?

    Anonymous said...

    A simple warrant or subpoena of records to tiderinsider to produce the IP addresses for each individual post would tell the authorities all they want to know about who posted what information. It's really not that hard to figure out, as long as those who have the means actually want to know.

    yahoo said...

    Awesome read.. This guy grows dumber by the minute.

    Unknown said...

    "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

    Baretta theme song

    Also one of life's little lessons. I wonder if he had an epiphany in the first hour of wearing that straight jacket that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

    Anonymous said...

    This was like reading Alice in Wonderland. Is it just me or did anything you read make any sense?

    He calls about a specific herbicide killing trees before anyone even knew the trees were poisoned andthe lawyer says Updyke just too credit for a crime nooone knew had happened, except Updyke. lol. Bama logic here.

    He's crazy, but he's not crazy you see?

    He didn't know what he was doing was wrong and he was a former law officer? hahahahahahahaha more Bama logic.

    I'm embarrassed for Bitter putting this on his site. hahahahhaa

    Unknown said...

    His friend posts information about the criminal deed before Harvey calls Finebum about it and says lots of people have my password and can post things using my name. Another brilliant Bama fan I see.

    Not popular in this part of the state, implying he is popular on the other side of the state. Stop it...lol..my stomach hurts..the stupidity is better than any comedy....Look at this guys Bama picture and all the Goobers around him.hahhahahaa

    Unknown said...

    Difference between a fan and a fanatic? Yeah, a fanatic gets thrown in jail for vandalism and criminal actions usually reserved for teens who have no wisdom or drunks or crazy people.lol.

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...


    No, the nation is actually laughing at you knuckle dragging bammer fans, because Updyke is unfortunately not some fringe element of your fan base.

    He's pretty representative of many of your sidewalk fans.

    Let me ask you a question. Would you think it is a big deal if some Auburn fan hopped on a bulldozer and flattened the Bear Bryant statue into the ground?

    I mean, it's only a statue, right?

    Anonymous said...

    I wonder if he's gonna poison the trees by the creek he's staying in.

    - and -

    At Anonymous: CAPITALIZATION IS SO COOL!!! And who made you the spokesperson for the rest of the nation? How bout we go tear down Bear Bryant's Statue and melt it down into some rims for my Honda and see if you don't pull out the ol pitchfork and torch. Why not try and be classy like many Bama fans are being?

    Anonymous said...

    I find it amusing that Finebaum never asked Barnes whether or not he asked Updyke if he poisoned the trees. Then again, he's a very good interviewer. He knew exactly what he was trying to do.

    Anonymous said...

    Harvey Updyke knew exactly what poison was used. Please, give me a break. Only the person who did this crminal act would know what it was. Mr. Barnes had access to this supposedly with his job. I think he has some explaining to do.

    Are we sure his tires were slashed? Is there a record of it?

    Anonymous said...

    Paul Finebaum you left out some important questions in your interview.. I forget.. this is the Howard Stern of sports talk shows.
    You are just in it for the money and entertainment factor. This type of show makes the Harvey Updykes of the world insane. He called his mentor to brag about his deed. I can't turn it off fast enough.

    easyedwin said...

    Anon; I think you mean Jerry Springer.

    Other anon; stop shouting.

    Anonymous said...

    I thought there were cameras on at TC 24/7 is there film and this guy or someone else putting out the poison?

    Unknown said...

    Most surveillance camera systems only keep video for a couple of weeks. The trees were poisoned in late November, but he did not admit publicly until January 27. Over 7 weeks had elapsed.

    Anonymous said...

    I had to chuckle at this comment by the new attorney - Threatt's response: "I think he showed that he lacked consciousness of guilt." I mean really?

    Evidentiary rules allow a prosecutor to introduce testimony that tends to show that the defendants actions prove he knew he was guilty (at least of something). This is sometimes referred to as “consciousness of guilt”. For example, such evidence may include actions the defendant took to “cover up” his alleged crime. Flight, when unexplained, may indicate consciousness of guilt if the facts and the circumstances support it. A person's false statements as to (his/her) whereabouts at the time of the offense may tend to show a consciousness of guilt.

    Threatt's comment is laughable.

    Anonymous said...

    What I love most about this is that he didn't even attend Alabama

    Anonymous said...

    Wow, bammer fans certainly seem to have a lot of psychological problems. Bear Bryant Updyke? Crimson Tyde? Ally Bama? Geez. How utterly sad and pathetic. If I were a billionaire, I would pay these folks to voluntarily get sterilized. I mean, what else can you say...these people bogle the mind. Again, wow. I love AU but it's just a football game people. It's a game!

    Unknown said...

    I wonder what his defense will be? Crazy? Did not do it, just took credit?

    Did it but did not know it was wrong? Thought he would get a parking ticket for it?

    Who will pay his fine?

    Does not know about weed killer? He seemed to know about weed killer he named the type.

    Then again, he could be just a blowhard like most Bama fans and red necks, a liar and a coward like most Bama fans.

    Unknown said...

    He looks a little like Kevin Price..what do you think?

    Unknown said...

    He had money to get out on bond but not for medicine or to pay his rent? He ownes nothing so where did the $5000 come from? Mal Moore?