Auburn tree killer on why he poisoned the Toomer's Corner oak trees: “I wanted Auburn people to hate me as much as I hate them."

By Scooby Axson
March 07, 2019

An Alabama fan who poisoned Toomer’s Oak Trees at Auburn University opened up about why he did it, saying he just doesn't like the Crimson Tide's biggest rival.

Harvey Updyke, Jr. poisoned the 80-year-old trees in 2011 and was eventually busted after he called into the Paul Finebaum radio show admitting the crime. He also left a phone message to an Auburn professor saying he knew who poisoned the tree.

Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty to a Class C felony of criminal damage of an agricultural facility, was ordered to serve at least six months in jail, spend five years on supervised probation and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution.

Updyke's probation recently ended allowing him to speak to the media about the incident.

“I wanted Auburn people to hate me as much as I hate them,” Updyke tells CBS News in a podcast named "Mobituaries," hosted by Mo Rocca.

“I just don’t like Auburn,” added Updyke, who is banned from Auburn's campus for life. “You know, there are several things in this world that I really and truly don’t like, and Auburn is one of them.

Updyke told CBS News he planned the crime for a month and placed a specialty herbicide called Spike 80DF on the trees. Updyke poured 500 times the amount of herbicide actually needed to kill the trees.

“Every night I’d stay up all night long, and they used to have cameras on the trees, and I figured out when the slowest time, what day of the week and what out of the night was the slowest around those oak trees, so I could go in there at that time and not get caught,” Updyke said.

The full podcast will be available starting on Friday. 

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