Alabama fan who poisoned Auburn trees fails to show up for court hearing

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The University of Alabama fan convicted of poisoning Auburn University’s oak trees failed to attend a hearing Wednesday on why he hasn’t paid court-ordered restitution.

The Opelika-Auburn news reports Harvey Updyke, a retired Texas state trooper who lives in Louisiana, didn’t show up for a hearing before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker.

Prosecutors planned to seek a warrant on Updyke for failing to appear, and the judge will decide later whether to order his arrest.

The judge also gave prosecutors a month to review a letter from Updyke’s doctor saying the 71-year-old man wasn’t well enough to travel to Opelika for court. Submitted Tuesday, the letter said Updyke suffered from conditions including severe coronary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, strokes and depression.

In a public Facebook post earlier this week, Updyke wrote that he would travel to Alabama by bus and expected to be jailed, possibly to “not make it out” because of his health.

“ROLL DAMN TIDE!!” the post ended.

Updyke pleaded guilty in 2013 to poisoning trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. Court records show Updyke has paid only $6,900 of about $800,000 he was ordered to pay in penalties and restitution.