Harvey Updyke, alleged tree poisoner, claims he was attacked

OPELIKA, AL (WXTX) - The man accused of poisoning the famous oaks at Toomer's Corner in Auburn is now out of the hospital following an assault.

News Leader 9 has learned, moments after waiving his rights to a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon, he told police that he was attacked at Tiger Express, a convenience store.  The convenience store is located just miles from the Lee County Justice Center.

[Read: Man waives hearing in Auburn tree poisoning]

Police were called out to Tiger Express located 4651 Birmingham Highway in Opelika around 1:30 p.m. central. Updyke told police as he was getting out of his car to make a purchase, he was assaulted by one or more people. 

Updyke also told police he never saw who struck him but said he was punched in the face and received several small abrasions and scratches. 

Updyke said he left the store after the assault and admitted himself to the  East Alabama Medical Center for treatment.

After receiving treatment, Updyke told police, he went back to Tiger Express to see if the store had video surveillance of the attack. 

The Opelika Police Department told News Leader 9 that Updyke says he will be seeking prosecution if his attackers are identified.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told the media Wednesday, "I can state that is unequivocally that an attack did not happen before Updyke entered in to the hearing. He appeared to be fine and was fine. As to what happened after, we have heard nothing about the attack."

Updyke was arrested by Auburn police on February 17, and charged with criminal mischief for allegedly poisoning the trees at Toomer's Corner.

"As bad as the tree poisoning was, it's even worse when an unknown assailant attacks my client. Harvey was treated and released after visiting a local hospital.  We hope that Harvey recovers from his injuries and we will cooperate with police as they have filed a report," said Updyke's attorney, Glennon Threatt Jr.

News Leader 9 is following this story. We'll have the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

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