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Prosecutor: Monitoring data ties accused to Tokes' murder

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    Brian Golsby enters court for opening arguments in his death penalty trial at Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus, Ohio, on March 5.

    Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch

  • MT-Golsby-KWR-02-JPG

    Brian Golsby looks on during opening arguments in his death penalty trial at Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus, Ohio, on March 5.

    Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch

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    Reagan Tokes

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COLUMBUS — Satellite monitoring will place accused murderer Brian Lee Golsby at “each and every step of that night of terror for Reagan Tokes,” a prosecutor told a Franklin County judge Monday.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien told the jury at the start of Golsby's trial that prosecutors will also use DNA evidence and surveillance video taken on the night of Feb. 8, 2017, to place the man within “steps or feet” of each link in the chain of events that culminated with Ms. Tokes' body being discovered in a suburban park the next day.

Toby Tokes, Reagan's father, put his left arm around the shoulders of his wife, Lisa McCrary-Tokes, as Mr. O'Brien described the details of the prosecution's theory of what happened to the Ohio State University senior that night.

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Reagan Tokes

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Ms. Tokes, formerly of Monclova Township, was just months shy of her psychology degree when she was abducted as she left the restaurant where she worked south of campus.

Over the nearly three hours that followed, she was raped, forced to withdraw $60 from an ATM, and shot twice in the head. Her body was found the next day in Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, south of Columbus.

“She was completely nude, left out in that cold weather, shot twice,” Mr. O’Brien said. The prosecution believes she was randomly targeted.

Common Pleas Judge Mark A. Serrott seated the final jurors Monday afternoon just before opening arguments. Before testimony begins Tuesday, that jury will be transported by bus to view seven Columbus area locations integral to the timeline of events that night.

Among them will be Bodega Café, where Ms. Tokes worked, a pair of banks where her ATM card was used, a Grove City gas station where Ms. Tokes pumped gas into her car as a shadow is seen in the car, a gas station where Golsby was captured on video purchasing a gas tank, and the park.

A makeshift memorial erected in Ms. Tokes’ memory at the park will be covered so that jurors won’t see it.

Golsby faces 10 counts, including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence, and possession of a firearm while prohibited from having one. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Golsby's attorney, Kort Gatterdam, told jury members to question the GPS evidence they will hear in coming days and to think in particular about the amount of time that passed between Ms. Tokes’ disappearance and when she was believed to have been killed.

“It gives you approximate locations, but it's nothing more than a set of locations,” he said. “It does not tell you who was doing what at that time. It does not supply mental elements of state of mind.”

Golsby, 30, had been recently released from prison after completing a sentence for an unrelated attempted rape and was staying in a halfway house. He was equipped with a GPS ankle-monitoring bracelet that gathered data but was not monitored in real time.

DNA allegedly discovered on cigarette butts found in the back seat and outside of Ms. Tokes’ recovered car first brought Golsby to the attention of police. They were then able to retrace his steps using the data gathered by his GPS ankle monitor.

The data also placed him at the location of several assaults and robberies in the German Village neighborhood of the city in the days immediately preceding the murder. Golsby will be tried separately on eight charges related to those incidents.

The Tokes now live in Florida. They have been critical of the lack of state monitoring of Golsby, a registered sex offender, upon his release from prison in the attempted rape case. They have testified before lawmakers for changes in sentencing laws and for increased monitoring with real-time alerts of any violations.

Mr. Gatterdam told the jury the defense also plans to make an issue of what the state's parole system did or did not do in terms of monitoring Golsby.

Contact Jim Provance at jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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