Harvey Updyke freed from jail - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Harvey Updyke freed from jail

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AUBURN, AL (WSFA) -

Harvey Updyke has been released from jail after serving 76 days in the Lee County Detention Facility.

Updyke was sentenced to a 3-year split sentence for pleading guilty to poisoning the trees at Toomer's Corner.  Following his release, Updyke will be under supervised probation for five years.

Updyke had no comment upon his release.

On March 22, 2013, Updyke took a deal and agreed to plead guilty to Criminal Damage to an Agriculture Facility, a class C felony.

As part of the plea deal, Updyke's probation will require him to abide by a 7 p.m. curfew.  He is forbidden to attend any collegiate athletic event and is banned from entering any property owned by Auburn University.

Updyke is also ordered not to speak with any member of the media.

He may also have to pay nearly a million dollars in restitution to Auburn University.

Auburn spent over 89 thousand dollars trying to save the poisoned oaks. The estimated cost of the replacements is over 425 thousand dollars.

The Alabama Farm Animal, Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act requires that anyone convicted of an offense that damages an animal or crop pay twice the market value of the animal or crop.

Updyke's plea deal saved the state money.

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

Reese said the trial, which was to be held in Elmore County, would have forced the state to pay for transportation and lodging for as many as 50 witnesses, not including the fees that would have been required by experts.

Harvey Updyke, a die-hard fan of the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide, caught the attention of the nation after he called into a popular sports talk show months after the 2010 Iron Bowl win by the Auburn Tigers.

Updyke, who went by the alias "Al from Dadeville" on Paul Finebaum's radio show, claimed to have poisoned the oaks with a herbicide known as Spike 80DF as a way of getting back at the Tigers for disrespecting his team.

Officials with the University's Agriculture Department immediately began testing the soil around the trees and confirmed the presence of the chemical. Unsuccessful efforts were made to save the trees, which are considered a symbol of the University. The trees were rolled a final time during the Auburn Tigers' A-Day game on April 20. They were removed on April 23rd.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirms that Paul Finebaum visited Updyke in jail on Sunday, June 9. Technically Updyke is not allowed to speak to the media as a term of his supervised release. However, Sheriff Jones says this was not an interview, it was a person-to-person conversation. Jones added that conversation was monitored to ensure that was "person-to-person" an not any kind of media circumstance. 

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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