Accused Auburn tree poisoner: "I'm truly sorry"

An undated photo provided by the Auburn Public Safety Department shows Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr., 62, of Dadeville. (AP Photo/Auburn Public Safety Department)

The Alabama fan indicted for poisoning the oak trees at Auburn University's Toomer's Corner apologized to Tiger fans in a phone call to a radio station on Wednesday, ESPN reports.

Harvey Updyke Jr., who faces felony counts including first-degree criminal mischief and vandalism, said he called into the Paul Finebaum Radio Network against the advice of his attorneys. He said that his apology was directed to the "truly Auburn fans" but not the "haters."

Listen to the audio of Updyke's call

"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 asked if "this" was poisoning the trees, Updyke responded, "You know I can't say that."

The century-old trees preside over Toomer's Corner, at the intersection of campus and downtown, where Auburn fans have traditionally celebrated wins. One of those traditions had been to heave toilet paper into the branches.

Updyke's trial is scheduled for the next criminal term, which begins Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, traces of the herbicide thought to be used to poison Toomer's Oaks have been found in several trees near the oaks' plaza.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports university officials say traces of Spike 80DF have been found in hollies, a water oak and a crape myrtle.

Scott Enebak, director in the university's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, says Auburn residents should not be concerned about it seeping into the water supply.

Enebak says the university will get a better idea on the condition of the live oaks in the spring but he's cautiously optimistic although the trees don't look good.

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