Harvey Updyke Jr. apologizes to Auburn

Updated: September 30, 2011, 10:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Alabama fan indicted for poisoning Auburn's famous oaks at Toomer's Corner apologized to Tigers fans in an emotional radio appearance Wednesday but still didn't admit that it was he who attacked the two trees.

Against the advice of his attorneys, Harvey Updyke Jr., who is awaiting trial on charges including criminal mischief and desecration of a venerated object, called into the Paul Finebaum Radio Network on Wednesday to say he was sorry to the "truly Auburn fans" but not the "haters."

Updyke Jr. I just want to tell the Auburn people that I'm truly sorry for all the damage I've done.

-- Harvey Updyke Jr.

Updyke, who has children named Bear and Crimson Tyde, pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.

Updyke began the call by saying his attorneys had told him to no longer call into Finebaum's program. He said later in the call that his attorneys would probably drop him "after this gets made public."

"I'm extremely sorry for what I have been accused of doing," Updyke said.

Updyke, who has health problems, said he has been told to draft a living will and "get right with God."

"I just want to tell the Auburn people that I'm truly sorry for all the damage I've done," he said in the call. "I'm not asking for sympathy. All I'm asking is forgiveness. I want the people that's Christians to understand I've done a lot of good in my life. I've never intentionally hurt anybody ... until this."

When Finebaum asked if "this" was poisoning trees, Updyke said, "Paul, you know I can't say that."

With leaves mottled brown and yellow, the now frail-looking trees are getting special treatment from a university, town and fan base in hopes that they'll pull through. The trees at the intersection of campus and downtown have been made famous by Auburn fans heaving toilet paper into their branches after victories.

Auburn said this week in a statement on its website that it should know better by the spring if the two poisoned oaks will survive. It also said in the statement that there is evidence that poison has reached trees that are 20 feet from the oaks.

Auburn discovered the poisoning after taking soil samples on Jan. 28, a day after a man calling himself "Al from Dadeville," said he had used the herbicide on the trees in a call to Finebaum's show.

Updyke has admitted he is "Al from Dadeville," but hasn't admitted that he was the person who actually poisoned the trees.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE