Blog Entry

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

Posted on: January 20, 2012 7:13 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 7:28 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Accused tree-poisoner Harvey Updyke has rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 13 years and -- maybe more importantly where Updyke is concerned -- prohibited him from ever attending another Alabama sporting event. 

ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported Friday that Updyke declined the plea deal "earlier this month." Updyke is scheduled to go to trial for poisoning Auburn's beloved Toomer's Corner oak trees in the Lee County (Ala.) Circuit Court March 5, but current Updyke attorney Everett Wess has requested a delay in the trial, a change of venue, and a recusal from the presiding judge.

Wess is asking that the trial be moved out of Auburn and that judge Jacob Walker III step down over his participation in an Auburn season ticket pool.

Updyke was indicted last May on two felony counts of criminal mischief, two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerable object and two more felony counts of an Alabama law that prohibits vandalizing or stealing any property on or from an animal or crop facility. Updyke could face as much as 42 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Though Updyke has maintained his innocence, he has also admitted to being "Al from Dadeville," the Paul Finebaum radio show caller who boasted he had poisoned the oaks in late December 2010. Updyke has since called into the show multiple times to apologize for his actions, leading to a break with his fourth attorney, Glennon Threatt. 

The oaks are not expected to survive, forcing Auburn to search for options to keep the traditional rolling of Toomer's Corner intact. The most likely approach, as recommended this week by the Committee to Determine the Future of Rolling Toomer’s Corner, will be for the oaks to be replaced by similar-sized trees once the chosen saplings have grown large enough, and for a temporary object or objects -- like some kind of wire structure -- to be used as a temporary solution until the trees are ready.

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Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:53 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

Why should it be court mandated that he no longer attends Alabama sporting events?  If U of A had any integrity they would take that action themselves.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:48 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

cuseman, I didn't offer any comment on the severity of the sentence. I have no idea what the legal precedent in this stuff is and I agree with you when you compare it to the punishment other people received for other crimes.

However, I do call BS on your statement that there is no room in "sentencing for symbolism." If these trees were honoring the military, I have no doubt people would be just fine with "sentencing for symbolism."

But again, I wasn't arguing he should be "sentenced for symbolism," I was just pointing out that the outrage over this has nothing to do with the environment or killing's about the destruction of symbols. If it was just about the environment, it's pretty obvious at this point that no one would really care.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:45 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

Let me tell you something ...

Anybody who says things like "big deal for killing trees" is either a childish kid inexperienced in life ... or your typical "American Idiot" who looks at a headline or gives thought to a tiny percentage of a story, draws hardline conclusions and then screams their short sighted opinions to the world.

How about this situation ...

My parents recently built a beautiful dream house in suburban Boston. It sits at the top of a hill in a nicely wooded area. It has a very large attached deck off the back of the house which is about 30 feet off the ground. It is surrounded on all sides (but by a comfortable distance) by large, old trees. One of the best (and in MY opinion, THE best) feature of the whole place is those trees. There is nothing more beautiful than lounging on that deck on a summer afternoon and hearing the gentle breeze blow through their branches and leaves. Hearing that while watching them slowly sway back and forth is incredibly relaxing.

This is one of those things that remind you that the best things in life are free.

If somebody came along and cut those trees down as an act of spite or revenge, it would be a terrible crime! One of the greatest features of their property would have been ripped from everybody's enjoyment. It would take decades for new ones to grow back ... and my parents will not be around decades from now.

Auburn's trees are no different. For someone to go and destroy their beloved symbols of beauty enjoyed by thousands of people ... is a major crime. Unfortunately, many of Auburn's staff and alumni will not be around when the new ones start to grow back. The enjoyment of those trees has been ripped from all of them by some sick idiot that probably shouldn't be walking the streets.

So yes ... it IS a big deal. 

This menace to society needs to be punished heavily.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:40 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

practically vigilante justice, this is a huge joke, no wonder our prison system is a ridiculous mess that has held this country back for decades...  they should make him be a groundskeeper for free for 13 years with the 13 year sentence hanging over his head if he doesnt!

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:32 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

bizona, there is no room in sentencing for symbolism. 13 years is a joke. people kill people drunk driving and get 6 months. this is nuts. the prosecutors must have lost there mind. wondering what kind of criminal statute this guy is facing that allows someone to go to jail for 13 years for killing trees.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:25 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

To be clear, I realize this is not an environmental issue at all. However, regarding some of the posts responding to the "I'm not a tree-hugger" post, the lack of concern displayed for life, for the only planet we have, and for future generations living on it is a pretty pathetic commentar
y on humanity.

Since: Nov 30, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:16 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

Just so we're clear, in reponse to the "I'm hardly a tree-hugger" nonsense, none of that (being a "toxic force" and so on) was actually what was criminal.  It is not criminal to cut down a tree.  It is criminal to cut down someone else's tree.  You can cut down as many of your own trees as you want in most places.

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:13 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

yes you are a dumb tree hugger!  its nut jobs and PC clowns like you that make this new generation giant pussies!

Since: Nov 21, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:05 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

the system is f#cked up!!! 13 years for poising a tree while killing someone while driving drunk nets you 1 month (donte stallworth) and mike vike 2 years for dog fighting.  makes no sense!!

Since: Oct 29, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:01 pm

Report: Harvey Updyke rejects 13-year plea deal

13 years??? In New Mexico people get 8 year plea deals for killing people..... Very ashamed of what Harvey did, but 13 years, I would have turned that down too! Criminal Damage to property is what he really did and I could see 5 years probation, 1,000 hours of Community service (picking up trash on the Auburn campus) and I'm sure it's unconstitutional to ban him form Alabama Sporting events. The University of Alabama could and should issue him a criminal tresspass warning and not allow him on campus. It sends a message to other fans that acts like this won't be tolerated. I'm sure Harvey would think twice about buying tickets to the Iron Bowl in Auburn, that's if Auburn hasn't issued a criminal tresspass warning to him yet.......

And if Harvey is reading any of this, get some help.... You need it.

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