Harvey Updyke featured on latest 'Mobituaries' podcast, explains why he poisoned Toomer's Oaks
Infamous Toomer’s Oak poisoner Harvey Updyke recently was the focus of Mo Rocca’s latest “Mobituaries” podcast, “Death of a tree: Roots of a Rivalry.” Rocca ultimately seeks to find out whether Updyke is a dangerous person or did he merely do something dangerous.
Updyke was ultimately charged with a Class C felony, spent six months in a Lee County (where Auburn is located) jail and was ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution to Auburn.
Rocca starts off the podcast discussing with Paul Finebaum and a state historian about the roots of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, and he eventually gets into what Updyke did about 20 minutes in.
For a refresher, Updyke first proudly admitted to Paul Finebaum on his show what he had done.
“The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn, Alabama, and I poisoned the two Toomer’s Trees,” Updyke told Finebaum in 2011. “They’re not dead yet, but they will definitely die.”
When Updyke finally arrives on the podcast, he explains what set him off and why he poisoned the oaks.
“I was saying I didn’t mean it,” Updyke told Rocca. “Then, I was going to tell you the truth. I did mean it. I wanted Auburn people to hate me as much as I hate them because they bought Cam Newton. You know who Scam Newton is? They hung the Scam Newton jersey on the Bear Bryant statue. That’s when I went crazy.”
Updyke then explained how he carried how his crime.
“It took me a month,” Updyke explained. “Every night I stayed up all night long. They used to have cameras on the trees. I figured out when the slowest time was, what day of the week, what hour of the night was the slowest around those oak trees, so I could go in there at that time and not get caught.
“4:00 a.m. on Sunday night,” Updyke said of the time.
“I mixed it (Spike 80df) with water and put it in milk jugs,” Updyke said. “I had two milk jugs for each tree. I walked around the outside of the tree where the foliage came out.”
Does Updyke think what he did was wrong?
“Yes, I think it was wrong,” Updyke said. “Them trees weren’t hurting me. That was the only way I felt like I could get back at them. I wasn’t going to hurt anybody. At the time, we had just found out my ex-wife had cancer. I guess I was depressed.
“You know, I think everybody has done things they regret, probably not at the magnitude I did.”
Updyke added that he should have gone to jail for what he did.
You can listen to the full podcast below:
Now on a brand new episode of #MOBITUARIES:
The history of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry is a long and fascinating one, with surprising roots. And it turned ugly with the 2011 poisoning of two beloved oak trees. https://t.co/aEwH8iJ6qd
— Mo Rocca (@MoRocca) March 8, 2019