Harvey Updyke, the man accused of poisoning the Toomer’s Oaks at Auburn, claims to have been assaulted by assailants at an Opelika, Alabama gas station shortly after his preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Updyke, who made national headlines for allegedly poisoning the iconic Toomer’s Oaks at some point after the 2010 Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl, suffered a scratch to the forehead during the reported attack at a gas station near the U.S. Highway 280. This alleged attack reportedly occurred a mere hour after his preliminary hearing – the same hearing in which Updyke’s lawyer requested his bond be altered so that the defendant could stay with his family in Louisiana.
Part of the reason for the request, apparently, was because the 62-year-old Updyke expressed concerns for his safety.
“There are some people in this community that have said some things to me and also to Mr. Updyke to have led us to have some concern for his safety. Not because we think somebody may do something to him, but they may say something inappropriate, and it just makes him feel safer being in an environment that's closer to home,” his attorney said after the proceedings.
When questioned afterwards, Updyke told officials he could neither describe nor identify the attackers. Further, the gas station at which the alleged assault happened did not have video surveillance in the particular parking lot where the assailants reportedly caught up with him. Numerous staff members on scene at the gas station and neighbors in nearby buildings told authorities they did not hear or see any disturbances.
Updyke was originally arrested on February 17 and charged with first-degree criminal mischief. The charge carries with it a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.