Main Media Stage: Story Behind Updyke’s ‘Attack’

On February 18, Harvey Updyke was released from a Lee County jail after being charged with poisoning Auburn’s University’s venerable Toomer’s oak trees.


Only one TV news outlet was tipped off to Updyke’s quiet release from custody that day, CBS 8 in Montgomery.  It was that station, which is based outside the Auburn over-the-air viewing market, that procured the footage of Updyke making an obscene gesture as he left an Auburn-area jail.

Yesterday, CBS 8 was also the first media outlet tipped off to an alleged attack on Updyke at an Auburn-area gas station.

The alleged attack came minutes after Updyke’s attorney Glennon Threatt had his plea offer rejected by the Lee County district attorney that would’ve prevented jail time for Updyke. Following the D.A.’s refusal to cut a deal amenable to Updyke, Threatt told the media that he was, “concerned” for Updyke’s “safety” when visiting the Auburn area because of past, material threats.

Threatt also told the media at that time that he was reserving the right to ask for a venue change for the case. Christina Chambers of WLTZ-TV reported after speaking to Threatt on the matter that a venue change was, “definitely something he was looking in to.

CBS 8 reporter Amanda McKenzie, who was the only media member to talk to Updyke after the alleged attack, also appeared on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network yesterday to discuss what happened when she first arrived at the hospital where Updyke was allegedly treated for injuries resulting from the alleged attack.

McKenzie to host Paul Finebaum:

“In fact, the hospital wasn’t even aware he (Updyke) was there. … we were actually the ones to help fill them in on what we had learned after speaking to Updyke.

“He (Updyke) didn’t know if he wanted to call the police or if he even wanted to call his wife. Obviously I’m a reporter so I said, ‘well you might want to because it’s going to be out there.’”

The above video contains McKenzie’s complete CBS 8 report and part of her appearance on the Finebaum show. Also included is an excerpt of an interview Threatt did with Finebaum yesterday regarding the attack and an excerpt of Christina Chambers‘ WLTZ-TV report on the matter.

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