A call to The Paul Finebaum Show and a suspicious voice message to an Auburn professor led police to arrest 62-year-old Harvey Almorn Updyke in the Toomer's Corner oak trees poisonings, according to an affidavit filed Thursday.
Updyke was arrested early Thursday morning for criminal mischief in the first degree, a Class C felony. He is being held on $50,000 bond and faces one to 10 years in prison if convicted.
A court affidavit revealed that around Jan. 28, Auburn police were made aware of a telephone call to The Paul Finebaum Show by a caller named "Al from Dadeville," who claimed to have poisoned the historic Auburn trees at Toomer's Corner using a herbicide called Spike 80DF. Soil tests confirmed the presence of the substance.
A professor at Auburn's Turfgrass Management and Weed Science also received a suspicious telephone message around Feb. 7 from someone who claimed to have knowledge about the tree's poisoning.
The message was recorded and was consistent with the voice on the radio show, according to the affidavit.
Auburn police obtained telephone records from Auburn University and made a covert call to the number from the suspicious message. The voice that answered was consistent with the voice on the radio show and message. Police came upon Updyke as a suspect after an investigation.
Updyke made an oral statement to police admitting to making the phone calls to the Finebaum Radio Show and the Auburn professor, the affidavit said. He later denied actually poisoning the trees.
Additionally, Lee County District Attorney Robert Treese asked the court to add three conditions towards the $50,000 bond for Updyke: prohibit him from entering the Auburn campus, prohibit him from possessing any firearms, weapons, or any toxic or dangerous chemicals, substances, or herbicdes and mandating he enter an anger management program
Updyke's court-appointed attorney is Phillip Tyler. He could not be immediately reached.