Auburn Community Reacts: Updyke Is Free From Jail

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By Jessica Gertler

University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke is now out of jail after serving time for poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees at Toomer's Corner.

Updkye is silent as he leaves the Lee County jail. He did not speak to reporters on the advice of his lawyer. 

The University of Alabama fan grew a mustache and longer hair during the remainder of his six-month sentence.

His release had Auburn fans talking.

"I think they should have been harsher on the punishment," says Clay Opaga who says he is not an Alabama nor an Auburn fan.

"I think it should have been more," says Auburn alum Cris Handley.

"I think that for poising a tree, six months seems like enough," says Erika Alexander, who is visiting Auburn.

Updyke pleaded guilty to poisoning the oaks in 2010 after Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl game.

"I went to Auburn, because I live 30 miles away," says Updyke on a radio show in January 2011. "I poisoned the two trees."

The university tried saving the trees, but in April, they were cut down.

Updyke will undergo five years of supervised probation where he is banned from attending any collegiate sporting events and has a 7 o'clock nightly curfew. He's not allowed to speak to the media and is banned from Auburn's campus.

"I understand the punishment about never going to Auburn or even an Alabama game ever again is pretty strict. It still doesn't replace a tradition like that," says Handley.

Metal poles and wire will temporarily replace the oaks, so students will have something to roll next season.

No decision has been made on whether Updyke should owe Auburn money. The Lee County District Attorney's office says his actions cost the university $1million.

"You can't pay for the tradition," says Opaga. "It's lost, but I think he should pay for the investment the university made to redo Toomer's."

Officials say Updyke's probation is being transferred to Louisiana where his wife is living.

Updyke is also facing an assault charge in Louisiana involving an incident that happened there at a home improvement store.

 

 



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