Harvey Updyke pleads guilty to poisoning of Toome - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Harvey Updyke pleads guilty to poisoning of Toomer's Oak trees


Lee County District Attorney announced Friday March 22 that Harvey Updyke withdrew his plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty to criminal damage to an Agriculutual Facility, a class C Felony.

Updyke was sentenced to three years and remains incarcerated until he finishes serving at least six months. Upon his release, Updyke will be under supervised probation for a period of five years. Conditions of Updyke's probation include a 7 p.m. curfew, he is forbidden to attend any collegiate event, and is banned from any property belonging to Auburn University.

Updyke was also ordered not to speak to the media as an additional conditional of probation.

"We have a significant number of violent felonies awaiting trial in Lee County and I could not in good conscious justify financing a three week trial merely to arrive at no better resolution," Treese said. 

According to Treese, a trial would have caused the state to incur the expenses associated with the transportation and lodging for as many as 50 witnesses plus the fees required by several experts.

Restitution costs will be assessed by the court at a later date. However, under Alabama's Farm Animal, Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act, the amount of restitution is automatically doubled once determined.

"Whether or not Mr. Updyke can manage to stay on probation is entirely up to him," Treese said. "Despite the destruction he has caused, no one is capable of diminishing the spirit of our community."

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