Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
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Purse, parking spot key in Tokes' murder trial

  • MT-Jury-trip

    Officials preview the site Tuesday morning where the body of Reagan Tokes was dumped a year ago just inside entrance to Scioto Grove Metro Park. A tarp covers a rock garden memorial to Ms. Tokes so that jurors wouldn't be influenced. Jurors took notes, listened to descriptions of the area, and left after about 15 minutes.

    Dean Narciso /Columbus Dispatch

  • MT-Golsby-KWR-02-JPG-1

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

    Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch

  • n3rtokes-8

    Reagan Tokes

COLUMBUS — By the time Reagan Tokes’ roommate realized that she hadn't returned home after her work shift the night before, Grove City police were already investigating the discovery of a body of an unidentified woman found in a park some 10 miles away.

As Brian Lee Golsby, 30, listened quietly, his shoulders slightly hunched, Madison Girten told a Franklin County jury on Tuesday that she learned that night that the body had been identified as that of her fellow Ohio State University classmate.

A graduate of Anthony Wayne High School, the 21-year-old former Monclova Township woman is believed to have randomly run into Golsby as she walked to her car after leaving work. She was kidnapped, raped, forced to withdraw $60 from a drive-through banking machine, and shot twice in the head.


Reagan Tokes


Golsby potentially faces the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder. He also faces a variety of charges that include kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence, and possession of a firearm while prohibited from having one.

“It alarmed me,” Kirsten Hall, another roommate of Ms. Tokes, said about when she woke up the next morning and sent Ms. Tokes a text wondering if her roommate had left for class without her.

“But also, throughout the day, I didn't assume the worst,” she said. “I just assumed she was at the library.”

On the second day of Golsby's trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the prosecution focused heavily on a black purse that Ms. Tokes usually carried as well as where she typically parked her car when she worked at Bodega Cafe about a mile from the campus-area apartment where the roommates lived.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien has said that Golsby gave that purse, the wallet inside, and the $60 he allegedly stole from Ms. Tokes to another woman after the murder. The location of the parking space is key because the prosecution intends to introduce data gathered from the GPS monitoring unit that was on Golsby's ankle to demonstrate he was at that spot at about the same time as Ms. Tokes.

Before the trial’s first witness took the stand, the jury and Judge Mark A. Serrott visited seven Columbus-area locations, each representing key events — and potentially dots on a GPS digital map — during the nearly three hours that Golsby and Ms. Tokes were together on the night of Feb. 8, 2017.

They included the Bodega Café, a pair of bank ATMs, and two gas stations where Ms. Tokes pumped gas into her car and Golsby allegedly purchased a gas can later used in a failed attempt to burn the car. They visited Scioto Grove Metro Park in the suburb of Grove City where Ms. Tokes body was found the next morning and where a temporary memorial for her had to be covered.

Golsby had been released the prior November from prison after completing his sentence for an unrelated attempted rape and was staying in a halfway house. He was equipped with the ankle monitor, but it was not monitored in real time by the state.

A Cincinnati attorney representing the Tokes family monitored the trial testimony Tuesday in anticipation of a lawsuit eventually being filed against the state.

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

The prosecution will attempt to link each of those digital data points to where Ms. Tokes was last seen or captured on bank or gas station surveillance video. Golby’s DNA was also allegedly recovered from Ms. Tokes’ body.

Contact Jim Provance at or 614-221-0496.

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