Judge finds probable cause for 2 suspects in Auburn Tiger Transit rape case

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AUBURN, Ala. — Two former Auburn University bus drivers charged with raping a student on a campus bus back in September went before a Lee County judge Wednesday.

As CBS 42 first reported, 51-year-old Tony Patillo and 32-year-old James Johnson, Jr. are both charged with first degree rape and sodomy.  Auburn investigators say video evidence from the Tiger Transit bus shows the 18-year-old Auburn student being raped on the bus, back on September 15th.

According to court documents obtained by CBS 42,  investigators pulled video footage from Johnson’s bus the night of the alleged attack and saw Patillo having sex with an incapacitated woman in the back of the vehicle. Investigators say Johnson was driving the bus and acted as a lookout while the assault took place.

After the assault, investigators say Patillo got off the bus and was seen exposing himself while standing over the victim. Someone passing by called 911 and alerted police.

Wednesday, both Patillo and Johnson appeared in court for their preliminary hearings. The district attorney explained a preliminary hearing is the first test of the evidence prosecutors have against the two suspects. From there, the judge then decided there is enough probable cause to send the case to a grand jury for them to consider indictments.

The judge said they found probable cause for James Johnson’s, Jr. first degree rape and sodomy charge and for Tony Patillo’s first degree rape, sodomy and four counts public lewdness. The case has been bound over to circuit court.

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