Harvey Updyke, who poisoned iconic oak trees in Auburn, dies at 71

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His son, Bear Updyke, told AL.com he died of natural causes in Louisiana on Thursday.

He was 71 years old.

Updyke has pleaded guilty to poisoning the oak trees that drew generations of Auburn University football fans to Toomer’s Corner after big wins. The incident, which happened in 2010, outraged Auburn fans.

He was sentenced to serve at least six months of a three-year sentence for criminal damage to a farming facility, the Lee district attorney said at the time.

As part of the sentence, he was put under five years of supervised probation, including a ban from attending any college events or walking on Auburn University property.

Auburn Police arrested him for spraying iconic trees on the edge of Auburn campus with a herbicide so strong that agronomists said they had little or no chance of survival.

Authorities first learned of the herbicide’s existence after a caller who identified himself as “Al de Dadeville” telephoned a radio show from Birmingham, Alabama, claiming he had poisoned the famous oaks after Auburn won a controversial football game in November 2010 against the University of Alabama. .

“Al” ended the call with “Roll Damn Tide,” a battle cry for the University of Alabama.

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