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AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – Auburn Police have arrested the man charged in the deadly 2019 crash that killed Rod and Paula Bramblett.

Johnston Taylor, 19, was arrested Thursday. Taylor was arrested on felony warrants charging him with six counts of Possession of Child Pornography. 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 a search 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 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 status in the Bramblett case.

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 the vehicle Rod and Paula Bramblett were in on March 25, 2019, along Shug Jordan Parkway. The crash killed the Voice of the Auburn Tigers and his wife. The ALEA crash report indicates the teen was driving 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 recused themselves.