Alabama Fan Who Plead Guilty to Poisoning AU Oaks, Appeared in Contempt Court Wednesday

The Alabama fan who plead guilty for poisoning the oak trees on Toomer’s corner  after the Iron Bowl in 2010 had a contempt hearing Wednesday for failing to appear in a Lee County courtroom back in January.

Harvey Updyke was ordered to file paperwork to the court showing his monthly expenses, medical issues and community service hours. He also needed to submit a budget to the court. But, he failed to submit that paperwork, so a restitution hearing was scheduled for January 3rd.

When he was a no show, Judge Jacob Walker III, held him in contempt and said he had to prove that he had a “good reason” to not show up.

Updyke did appear in court Wednesday. His defensive attorney said Updyke didn’t appear back in January because there was miscommunication between him and his client.

“No fault with anyone else. Then he fell into some health problems,” said Andrew Stanley, Updyke’s Defense Attorney.

Stanley said during the time Updyke was supposed to be in Lee County for his hearing, he was in Texas taking care of his mother in law. So, Stanley couldn’t get a hold of him. Also, he told the court that Updyke suffers from “memory loss” due to a fall and cannot drive himself and relies on his wife and others to drive him everywhere. Another reason for his absence.

Excuse accepted.

“Judge Walker found him to not be in contempt so it didn’t put him in jail for that reason,” said Stanley.

Judge Walker did,though, increase the amount of money Updyke owes to the state every month.

“The judge did increase his payments from $116 a month to $150 a month and then after that his payments it will go up to $200 a month not the $500 we were asking for but it did go up which we appreciate,” said Brandon Hughes, Lee County District Attorney.

The DA’s office will also strictly monitor those payments because he owes $800,000 in restitution.

“If he misses his payment we will follow the appropriate motions to get him back here and answer that question,” said Hughes.

But, if Updyke continues to make his payments and complies with the court, this may be the last time he appears in a Lee County Courtroom.

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