Auburn Tree Killer Receives 3-Year Sentence

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 03/25/2013 1:09PM


Auburn University Toomer oakAuburn Alumni Association/Flickr OPELIKA, AL – Harvey Updyke, an Alabama fan who admitted poisoning rival Auburn’s famed Toomer’s Corner oak trees in 2010, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Updyke pled guilty on March 22 to criminal damage of an agricultural facility, a Class C felony in Alabama. For his crime, Updyke must serve at least six months jail time plus five years supervised probation, Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said in a statement. As part of the probation, Updyke is forbidden to attend any collegiate athletic event and is banned from any property belonging to Auburn University.

In announcing the plea deal, DA Treese said, “We have a significant number of violent felonies awaiting trial in Lee County and I could not in good conscience justify financing a three-week trial merely to arrive at no better a resolution.”

Auburn announced in February it could not save the trees. The amount of restitution, once determined, will be automatically doubled under Alabama’s Farm Animal, Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act.


About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory ( She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at or Google+.

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Georgia  |  March, 28, 2013 at 07:26 AM

I wonder if Auburn has contacted any local woodworking clubs to make use of the wood, or whether it's just going to the landfill?


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