Updyke confesses to Plainsman: 'Did I do it? Yes.'
by Andrew Yawn / COMMUNITY EDITOR
Jun 20, 2012 | 28914 views | 7 7 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Updyke confessed his guilt Tuesday at the Lee County Justice Center during a recess of the jury selection for his upcoming trial. Credit: Vasha Hunt/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool
Updyke confessed his guilt Tuesday at the Lee County Justice Center during a recess of the jury selection for his upcoming trial. Credit: Vasha Hunt/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool
slideshow
(Editor's note: The Plainsman community editor Andrew Yawn approached Harvey Updyke at the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika on Tuesday, June 19, following the first round of jury selection in regard to Updyke's apparent health issues. After Yawn identified himself as a Plainsman reporter, Updyke voluntarily spoke candidly about the charges he is facing.)

It didn’t happen on a stand, in a courthouse, before a judge or in front of a jury of his peers: Harvey Updyke admitted his guilt before the trial even began.

He had the ability to decline comment, to wait until the trial, to not say anything at all, and yet the same candor that broke his story on The Paul Finebaum Show in January 2011 revealed itself again on Tuesday, June 19.

“Did I do it? Yes,” Updyke said outside of an elevator on the second floor of the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika.

Updyke pleaded innocent to several counts of desecration of a venerated object, first-degree criminal mischief and unlawful damage or vandalism of a crop facility after he allegedly poisoned the Toomer’s Oaks with Spike 80DF, a powerful herbicide, after the 2010 Iron Bowl.

Updyke appeared to have some difficulty breathing while attending the jury selection for his upcoming trial and while Judge Jacob Walker read the charges filed against him aloud.

Updyke acknowledged the trial was already sapping his fading strength when approached about his health concerns.

“I thought I was going to pass out all morning,” Updyke said.

His wife, Elva Updyke, said she had doubts about how he would fare throughout the trial.

“I guarantee he won’t last the trial without something happening,” Elva said.

Updyke said he has lost 62 pounds since his arrest and is currently taking 18 different medications for a variety of ailments.

But Updyke didn’t stop there.

As he and his wife stood by the window on the second floor of the Justice Center, a seemingly remorseful Updyke opened up about the crime that fanned the flames of one of the most heated rivalries in sports history.

Before his trial began and before his jury was even selected, Updyke convicted himself by admitting to poisoning one of Auburn’s most iconic landmarks.

Updyke also said his lawyer, Everett Wess, would probably drop him if he found out he was speaking about the case.

Why he decided to admit his guilt may remain unknown. However, Updyke had seemingly already resigned himself his fate.

“They’re going to find me guilty… it’s a done deal,” Updyke said. “I don’t think I’m going to get a fair trial.”

Elva also said Judge Walker refused to excuse a juror during the questioning of potential jurors Tuesday morning after she said she “probably couldn’t” remain impartial.

In addition, when asked if they had heard or read about Updyke’s alleged crimes, almost all of the candidates raised their hands, with approximately seven of the 85 being employed by Auburn University.

Updyke also said he was not alone in poisoning the oaks. However, he declined to reveal his accomplice’s name.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s not going to come out,” he said.

For Updyke, the blame and the guilt are solely his to bear.

“Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just wish that you hadn’t done something?” Updyke said.

Despite his contrition, the attempted killing of the approximately 131-year-old trees attacked the roots of one of Auburn’s oldest traditions.

And yet, Updyke did not come out unscathed.

Like the trees, the damage for Updyke is already done.

“It’s ruined my life,” Updyke said. “I’ve got a daughter that won’t even talk to me now.”

As for the oaks, uncertainties abound as the trees’ ability to recover remains unknown.

While Auburn’s citizens hope to see new foliage sprout soon from the historic branches, Updyke may now be the trees’ most ardent supporter.

“I hope they live,” Updyke said.
Comments
(7)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
RekNeps
|
June 20, 2012
Lock his ass up and get it over with! Roll Tide!

hortgirl
|
June 20, 2012
Every pesticide label includes the statement, "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." This language obliges the purchaser or user of any pesticide to assume responsibilities for the use of the product. Further, courts of law and regulators generally recognize the pesticide label is a binding contract which requires the person using the product to do so exactly as directed. Terms such as must, shall, do not, and shall not mean that the user is responsible for specific actions when applying or handling the given product; any departure from such directions is, in the eyes of the law, an illegal use of the pesticide." Regardless of any of the rest of the information, opinions or feelings, what he did is against the law. The label is a binding, legal contract. Applying a dose that goes against the label is a crime. If he is found guilty by a jury, then do the time. Case closed.
jnst76
|
June 19, 2012
Wikipedia definition of idiot: An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.
Wegl83
|
June 19, 2012
He didn't seem very sick while attending the BCSChampionship game or at recent baseball/ softball games in Tuscaloosa.

Also, he complains about not having the money for his defense...how did he afford the BCS game weekend in New Orleans?

He is a pitiful excuse of a fan for any school! I hope he is convicted of his crimes.
caine09
|
June 19, 2012
i think its wrong to put someone in jail for trees is thats the case put the people in jail that cut tree for houses and anythings else that made of trees you got to be kidding me everything you do on earth you have to pay for it in heaven his health is important to i would'nt be that jury @all to send someone to jail for a tree something a bad wealther can come and up root it and i guess that bad wealther would have a cell also.
au_grad2003
|
June 19, 2012
if we could put katrina in a cell we would. natural disasters kill people all the time, are you condoning murder too since "nature does it all the time"? stupid argument. this guy is a criminal and his actions were criminal by definition.
DBS1223
|
June 19, 2012
@caine09 - Spoken like a true Bama Fan or someone completely oblivious to the meaning of THOSE trees. Go poison a tree in a national park and see how much trouble for doing that to "just a tree."