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Harvey Updyke pleads guilty; no trial for tree-poisoner

Harvey Updyke (via his lawyer) changed his original "not guilty" plea. Sentencing has been determined. There will be no trial for the infamous tree-poisoner after all.

You can change Harvey Updyke's name from "alleged" tree-poisoner to "confirmed" tree-poisoner. Late Friday afternoon, Updyke's attorney and Lee County district attorney Robbie Treese announced that Updyke had plead guilty to criminal damage to an agricultural facility (Class C felony).

Updyke was sentenced to three years and will remain in prison until he serves at least six months. After his release, Updyke will will be placed on supervised probation for five years. The probation includes some stipulations:

  • 7 p.m. curfew
  • Forbidden from attending any collegiate athletic event
  • Banned from any property belonging to Auburn University
  • Updyke may not speak to the media
Court costs and restitution will be assessed at a later date. However, whatever restitution is, it will be doubled because of stipulations in Alabama's Farm Animal, Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act.

Treese stated that closing the Updyke case this way is a benefit, because now the State will not have to incur the costs and expenses of a trial, including transportation and lodging for up to 50 witnesses and fees for experts.
"We have a significant number of violent felonies awaiting trial in Lee County and I could not in good conscience justify financing a three week trial merely to arrive at no better resolution," Treese said.

Treese added, "Whether or not Mr. Updyke can manage to stay on probation is entirely up to him. Despite the destruction he has caused, no one is capable of diminishing the spirit of our community."
You can view the full release here.