Harvey Updyke Released 01

Harvey Updyke Jr. walks out of the Lee County Justice Center after being released on probation Monday, June 10, 2013 in Opelika, Ala.

The Lee County District Attorney has noticed Harvey Updyke has not been making his restitution payments.

Instead of letting it slide under the rug, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes wants Updyke to tell the court why he’s not making payments himself.

“We filed a show cause motion, which means basically he needs to come to court and tell the court why he’s not paying,” said Hughes.

PHOTO GALLERY: See pictures from Toomer's Corner through the years in a gallery at the end of this story.  

Updyke pleaded guilty in 2013 to poisoning the Toomer’s Oaks after Auburn’s Iron Bowl victory in 2010.

The show-cause order states that Updyke must appear for a show cause hearing set for Oct. 30 in Lee County, according to court documents.

The show-cause order was issued July 10 but was not served until Tuesday because prosecutors had a difficult time locating Updyke.

“The judge ordered us to serve it on him, which we have to serve it to him to say, look you need to come to court,” Hughes said. “We just found him on Tuesday and served him.”

Investigators located Updyke in Louisiana, a place he once resided, according to a 2017 report.

Court records indicate Updyke lives in Texas.

If Updyke does not return to Lee County for the hearing Hughes says his office will try to force him to return to the area.

“I will ask that an arrest warrant be issued so we can go pick him up and bring him back,” he said. “If he’s not going to come back on his own, we’re going to seek an arrest warrant so we can go get him.”


Judge Jacob Walker ordered Updyke to pay $816,694.98 in restitution to Auburn University and court costs.

In the past 12 months, Updyke has made two payments of $99, a significant amount less than what he is ordered to pay, according to records.

“He’s supposed to be paying $200 a month,” said Hughes, who added that he believes Updyke has paid less than $5,000 in restitution

According to court records, Updyke has paid $6,646.50; however, he still needs to pay more than $810,000 in restitution.

Hughes believes Updyke doesn’t want to pay back the money.

“He’s traveled other places to watch Alabama play so he’s spending money,” he said. “He’s just not spending it on his restitution like he’s supposed to.”


Updyke confessed to poisoning the Toomer’s Oak by calling into “The Paul Finebaum Show” in 2011.

The Toomer’s Oaks are traditionally rolled with toilet paper by Auburn students and fans after a big win.

Auburn attempted to save the trees but it determined the oaks would not survive. The university decided to replace them in 2015.

The oak on Magnolia Avenue did not survive the transplant and was replaced in July 2015. The new tree was then damaged in 2016 by a fire after Auburn’s win against LSU.

Jochen Wiest pleaded guilty in 2017 to setting fire to toilet paper hanging from the tree.

The 2015 oaks were replaced in February 2017.

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