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DA: ’Bama fan who poisoned Auburn trees not making repayment

August 15, 2019
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FILE - In this April 23, 2013 photo, a man works to cut down the poisoned oak trees at Toomer's Corner at the entrance to Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty to placing herbicide on the trees and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution. He is due in court on Oct. 30, 2019, to explain why the money is not being paid. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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FILE - In this April 23, 2013 photo, a man works to cut down the poisoned oak trees at Toomer's Corner at the entrance to Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty to placing herbicide on the trees and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution. He is due in court on Oct. 30, 2019, to explain why the money is not being paid. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A prosecutor wants to know why a University of Alabama fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning landmark oak trees at Auburn University isn’t making court-ordered restitution payments.

Harvey Updyke was ordered to appear in court Oct. 30 to explain himself, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV.

Updyke served more than 70 days in jail in 2013 and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution after admitting to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. Fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a win, but the original oaks died after being doused with herbicide.

Updyke has paid less than $5,000 and often misses payments, Hughes said.

“We have been keeping an eye on his payments or more specifically, his non-payment, and he has made exactly two payments for a total of $200 in the past year. Because of that, we have been looking for him for close to a year, and we finally found him,” said Hughes.

A judge previously threatened to jail Updyke for failing to pay the money, and he cited Updyke for contempt of court when the man failed to appear at a hearing about the unpaid money in 2017.

Updyke, 70, is a former Texas trooper who now lives in Louisiana.

Updyke posted recent Facebook updates with a crude comment about Auburn and a video saying his monthly rent was going up almost $200 to $700 with a $500 deposit.

“Roll, Tide,” he screamed at the end.

Updyke has embraced his role as a “villiain” at Alabama sporting events, the prosecutor said, and he was in Tuscaloosa for a football game in November.

“If you have enough money to go see your team play, you have enough money to pay Auburn University,” said Hughes.

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