Attorneys for Golsby seek to throw out death penalty specifications

Brian Golsby

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The attorneys for Brian Golsby are asking the judge overseeing his case to throw out the death penalty specifications in his indictment.

Golsby is the man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering Ohio State student Reagan Tokes, last February.

According to a motion filed on October 31, defense attorneys cite a report by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Frank Baumgartner to argue race is a factor when the state determines who is eligible for the death penalty.

It reads in part:

“Indeed, ‘[s]ixty-five percent of all executions carried out in Ohio between 1976 and 2014 were for crimes involving White victims despite the fact that 43% of all homicide victims are White.’”

The defense also argues Prosecutor Ron O’Brien seeks the death penalty against more African American defendants than white ones.

As the motion states:

“Such grave disparity in the most serious of cases cannot be tolerated by a criminal justice system that strives for even the appearance of fairness and equality.”

Golsby’s attorneys, who also filed a motion to have the evidence collected from the defendant’s ankle monitor suppressed, declined to comment.

O’Brien issued the following statement:

“We have 14 days under court rule to respond to any defense motion in a criminal case and are in the process of preparing  a response to both motions recently filed in the Golsby case, including the allegation that the death penalty is being sought on a discriminatory basis. Both the facts and the law do not reflect discrimination in those cases in which a death penalty indictment was filed in Franklin County.”

Golsby’s trial is scheduled to begin in February. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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