AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) –  The Auburn man, previously granted Youthful Offender status in the 2019 high-speed crash that killed the voice of the Auburn Tigers and his wife, has pled guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography, which advocates prefer to call possession of child sexual abuse materials. Three additional counts were dismissed. Now, we wait to see if 20-year-old Johnston Taylor be sentenced to prison or probation by a Lee County Judge.

The Class C Felony is punishable by up to ten years in prison for each count. Taylor’s sentencing is set for January. The Lee County District Attorney’s Office has been clear from the start they will seek prison time upon Taylor’s guilty plea or conviction. However, Taylor’s defense attorney is requesting his client serve his sentence out of jail and on probation. According to court documents Taylor remains behind bars at the Lee County Detention Facility ahead of a probation application hearing set for Tuesday, November 28th at 3:30 PM with Judge Jeff Tickal, the same judge who denied Johnston’s Youthful Offender status in the possession of child abuse materials case.  Taylor’s defense attorney Walter Northcutt confirmed the YO denial after the hearing. WRBL reached out to Northcutt for an additional comment on the guilty plea and upcoming hearing on his probation application.  We have not heard back from Northcutt as of Thursday.

In June of 2022, Auburn Police arrested Taylor, who was 19 years old at the time, 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. According to court documents, multiple videos depicting child pornography were downloaded to a Dropbox account belonging to Taylor.

Taylor was out on bond in the case, which was revoked earlier this year after he allegedly used synthetic urine to try and cheat a court-ordered drug test.

In 2019, as a teen, Taylor was traveling 91 miles an hour and had recently used marijuana when he crashed into Rod and Paula Bramblett, killing them. Despite prosecutors objecting, Taylor was granted Youthful Offender status in that case, greatly reducing his potential sentence. Taylor’s bond was pulled on that case too, before it was resolved,  after he was stopped by Auburn police on allegations of reckless driving, speeding, and the smell of marijuana allegedly coming from Taylor’s vehicle. 

The Lee County District Attorney’s Office denied to release of a statement regarding Taylor’s guilty plea in the child sexual abuse materials case pending future hearings.

WRBL will keep you updated.

Advocate: According to International Centré for Missing and Exploited Children 

Using proper terminology when discussing child protection issues is especially critical.

We need to stop using the term Child Pornography.

Experts agree it’s essential to steer clear of terms like “Child Pornography” as they fail to capture the real harm and might wrongly imply the child’s participation, undermining the reality that these images serve as evidence of a heinous crime. 

While laws in many countries continue to use the term “child pornography,” there is a global movement towards the use of “child sexual abuse material” (CSAM) to better reflect the seriousness of this crime against children.