AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The Auburn man charged in the deadly 2019 crash that killed Rod and Paula Bramblett has been arrested on allegations of child pornography by Auburn police, law enforcement has confirmed to News 3.
Johnston Taylor, 19, is behind bars as of Thursday night at the Lee County Detention Center. He was booked into jail on Thursday, June 16, 2022. Auburn Police arrested Taylor on felony warrants charging him with six counts of Possession of Child Pornography. The arrest stems from Auburn Police and members of the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force initiated an investigation on June 7, 2022. Taylor was developed as a suspect, and after the execution of a search warrant and collection of other related evidence, he was arrested and charged.
Taylor was transported to the Lee County Jail and held on a $60,000 bond. News 3 is working to gather more details on how this arrest it will impact his sentence as a Youthful Offender in the deadly crash that killed the Voice of the Auburn Tigers and his wife, and if he will be able to make bond on the child pornography charges because of his YO status in the Bramblett case. We will clarify that aspect of this case as soon as we can.
The YO status in the Bramblett case, granted back in April of 2021, prevented News 3 or any other media from being inside the courtroom during the plea and sentencing.
Taylor was 16 years old when he crashed into Rod and Paula Bramblett on March 25, 2019, along Shug Jordan Parkway, killing the Voice of the Auburn Tigers and his wife. The ALEA crash report indicates the teen was traveling 91 miles per hour at the time of the crash, and a blood sample taken from the Taylor at the hospital indicated “recent” use of marijuana.
The teen’s defense attorneys applied for Youthful Offender status in the case. In the order granting YO, Judge McLaughlin wrote, “At the time of the accident, the defendant was a 16-year-old teenager with no prior criminal history, who had smoked or used marijuana and had been diagnosed with marijuana use disorder. None of this justifies what happened; however, it does lend itself to treatment as a Youthful Offender. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Application to be treated as a Youthful Offender is hereby GRANTED.”
A Youthful Offender ruling was considered a legal win for a defense team as it reduces possible punishment and seals further public inspection of the case record. YO is viewed as an adjudication, not a conviction. If the judge does hand down a sentence, prison time is capped at three years, and probation is capped at three years. Because the person is not considered a convict, they can own a firearm, vote, hold public office, and they do not have to disclose information related to the crime on a job application.
The District Attorney’s Office had argued against YO and wanted to try Johnston as an adult in the deaths of Rod and Paula Bramblett.
Judge McLauchlin was appointed to the case when several Lee County Judges rescued themselves.