University seeks more than $1 million in damages in Updyke restitution case
by Justin Ferguson | Managing Editor
Jul 19, 2013 | 2406 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Courtesy of Vasha Hunt/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool)
(Courtesy of Vasha Hunt/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool)
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Harvey Updyke may be out of jail, but there is a chance he could face more punishment for poisoning the oak trees that once stood at Toomer’s Corner.

On Thursday, July 19, Elmore County Judge Jacob A. Walter III set a restitution hearing in Updyke’s case for Sept. 18.

Walter will decide then if Updyke, the University of Alabama fan who pled guilty in March to poisoning the now-razed Toomer’s oak trees, will have to pay the University more than $1 million.

The University claims the cost of the work associated with the trees’ damage and the expenses paid by the Alabama Department Agriculture and Industries for soil analysis were $521,396.74.

According to Alabama law, anyone convicted of damage to animals or plants must pay double the amount of damages.

In an objection filed back in June, Updyke’s current attorneys, Andrew Stanley and Margaret Young Brown, said the restitution amount was “unduly excessive, burdensome, and will result in unjust enrichment for the victim, Auburn University.”

Updyke is reportedly living with his family in Louisiana and will not attend the restitution hearing.

The 64-year-old was sentenced to six months in jail under a three-year split sentence, but he was released to five years of supervised probation June 10—just 104 days of jail time.

Updyke poisoned the famous trees, which were cut down April 23, sometime after Auburn’s 28-27, come from behind victory in the 2010 Iron Bowl. The poisoning was first brought to light in January 2011 when “Al from Dadeville” called into the popular Paul Finebaum radio show and admitted to the deed.
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