WETUMPKA — Alabama fan Harvey Updyke changed his plea to guilty today in the Toomers Oaks tree poisoning case, OAnow.com reported.
Updyke received a three-year sentence and will remain incarcerated until he finishes serving at least six months. Once released, Updyke faces five years of supervised probation, according to the Opelika-Auburn News website report.
Updyke was accused of poisoning the trees on the Auburn campus that Tigers fans rolled with toilet paper to celebrate significant victories. The dying trees are scheduled to be removed next month.
A circuit judge issued an order last week transferring Updyke's trial from Opelika to Wetumpka, located in Elmore County near Montgomery.
The change came after prosecutors dropped their opposition to a request by Updyke's lawyers. The defense cited the difficulty of getting a fair trial near Auburn.
The trial was to begin April 8.
Updyke had pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to charges of poisoning the trees during Auburn's run to the national championship in the 2010 football season.
The famous oaks at Toomer’s Corner will be rolled for the final time following the A-Day football game April 20.
Updyke gave what was tantamount to a confession in the poisoning in 2011 on a Birmingham radio show, saying he didn’t want his legacy to be as “Harvey the tree poisoner.” He also said that “undoubtedly” it wasn’t one of the good things he has done in his life.
He ended his appearance by saying, “Roll Damn Tide.”
“All my life, people have told me I cared too much about Alabama,” Updyke said on the show.
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