A tree at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama.
A tree at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama.

Story highlights

Harvey Updyke pleads guilty

He was accused of poisoning famed oak trees at Auburn

He gets jail time, probation

(CNN) —  

Harvey Updyke, the Alabama man who pleaded guilty in 2013 to poisoning Auburn University’s landmark oak trees, has died.

Harvey Updyke will serve at least six months of a three-year sentence for criminal damage to an agricultural facility, a felony, Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said in a statement.

The plea brings to an end the criminal proceedings in an act in 2010 that outraged Auburn fans and others upset that the trees at Toomer’s Corner were poisoned.

As part of the sentence, he was put under five years of supervised probation, including a ban on attending any collegiate event or stepping on Auburn University property.

“Whether or not Mr. Updyke can manage to stay on probation is entirely up to him,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “Despite the destruction he has caused, no one is capable of diminishing the spirit of our community.”

Auburn police arrested him for dousing the landmark trees on the edge of the Auburn campus with herbicide so potent that agronomists said they had little to no chance of survival.

Authorities first learned of the herbicide after a caller who identified himself as “Al from Dadeville” phoned into a Birmingham, Alabama, radio talk show, saying he had poisoned the renowned oaks after Auburn won a contentious November 2010 football game against the University of Alabama.