The man who foolishly called into a radio show and admitted to poisoning Auburn University's famous oak trees has only paid $99 of the $796k restitution he owes, according to the Auburn University Plainsman.
Harvey Updike admitted to poisoning the trees in circuit court and was ordered to pay restitution on Nov. 8, 2013. The Alabama fan spent 104 days in prison and since was released under five years supervised probation.
He was supposed to make payments in $500 per month increments. But a little less than a year later, he's barely contributed a hundred to pay back the damages.
That payment was made July 18. He has yet to make another.
Updyke was a retired Texas state trooper living in Dadeville, Ala. when he made the unwise decision to take his college fandom to another level.
The hardcore Alabama fan poisoned the soil around the famous live oak trees at Toomer's Corner with a large quantity of Spike 80DF, a herbicide that even in its lowest amounts were lethal. Later, an Auburn University horticulture professor said the poison would "likely be in the soil for 3 to 5 years."
No one had caught him in the act of doing it. But Updyke called the Paul Finebaum sports talk show and said he poisoned the trees with an herbicide during the 2010 Iron Bowl. At the end of that call, he shouted, "Roll damn Tide!"
Auburn University tested the soil and found it was, indeed, poisoned. School and city officials teamed up to investigate the matter and soon they had tracked down the radio show call - made under the pseudonym "Al from Dadeville" - to Updyke.
One of the terms of Updyke's probation is paying off the debt in a timely fashion.
His lawyer asked for the fee to be lowed to $50 per month, but the judge denied that request. Some Auburn fans have suggested that Updyke is dragging his feet and doesn't plan on making the payments at all.
Auburn finally made the difficult decision to remove the trees, despite their historic nature, because it looked like there was no way to save them. It took on all the excavation costs and any replacement fees as well.
"It came to a point where we realized that it wasn't going to work," said Mike Clardy, Auburn's Director of Communications, "and the amount of poison in the ground was such that the trees were not going to survive."
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