AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The Auburn teen charged with two counts of Manslaughter in the deadly crash that killed Rod and Paula Bramblett will be treated as a Youthful Offender according to the presiding judge in the case.
According to the order obtained by News 3, 18-year-old Johnston Taylor will be arraigned and plea on Wednesday, April 28 at 11:00. Judge P.B. McLauchlin issued his ruling on Tuesday. McLauchlin was appointed to the case when several Lee County Judges rescued themselves.
The teen’s defense attorneys had applied for Youthful Offender status in the case. A hearing on the Youthful Offender status was held Tuesday, March 30. A Youthful Offender is classified as a person under the age of 21. Under Alabama law, when the defense’s application is approved, punishment is reduced to a max three-year sentence, and the defendant waives their right to a jury trial.
In the order granting Youthful Offender, 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.”
“Due to the confidential nature of youthful offender proceedings, I am unable to comment,” said Taylor’s defense attorney Tommy Spina.
News 3 has reached out to the Lee County District Attorney’s office for a comment and will update this story when we have a statement.
Johnston 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.
More coverage of the deadly crash that claimed the lives of Rod and Paula Bramblett: