COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Tuesday would have marked Reagan Tokes’ 23rd birthday.
On that day, March 13, her family finally got a little bit of justice.
After just five hours of deliberation, a jury found Brian Golsby guilty on all counts in connection with the kidnapping, robbery, rape and murder of the Ohio State University student.
Golsby was convicted on four counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications, one count of kidnapping, one count of rape, one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the case touched a nerve with the community.
“I think this victim, in this case Reagan Tokes, is everybody’s sister, everybody’s female relative,” he said. “It’s every woman’s worst nightmare.”
O’Brien said their case was strong. And, although the Tokes family didn’t want to talk about what happened at sentencing, he said they got the news they’d waited for the past year.
“I think they, as you could see from their reaction in the courtroom, were pleased with the verdict the jury returned.”
Jurors will return Friday for the start of the penalty phase during which defense attorneys will present evidence of any mitigating factors about the defendant. Jurors will have the option of returning the death penalty or life without parole, life with no chance of parole for 30 years or life with no chance of parole for 25 years.
The family of Reagan Tokes wept in the courtroom as the judge read the verdicts.
Earlier in the day – defense attorney Diane Menashe conceded in her closing argument that Brian Golsby committed the kidnapping, robbery, rape and murder of former Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes. But, in an attempt to save Golsby’s life, Menashe argued Golsby did not plan the murder. She says he panicked.
“The state would have you believe that this guy, this guy, is capable of prior calculation and design,” Menashe told the jury. “With all due respect to Mr. Golsby, if Mr. Golsby was that smart he wouldn’t have been wearing a GPS monitor while he’s committing the crimes.”
Golsby is accused of kidnapping Tokes after she left a restaurant in the Short North where she worked. Prosecutors say he forced Tokes to withdraw money from an ATM, raped her and then shot and killed her at Scioto Grove Metro Park.
Menashe argued that Golsby’s crimes were separate events, a legal distinction that could help Golsby avoid the death penalty. She referred back to the testimony of Golsby’s friend Brittney Stepp who described his jailhouse confession. “He said ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I got scared’ I got scared is not prior calculation and design. I got scared is….I panicked.”
Prosecutors argued that the evidence against Golsby was overwhelming.
The told jurors Golsby’s crimes were a continuing course of conduct that night and that the murder was the culmination of his plan. “We agree he’s not smart,” Lowe said. “But he’s smart enough to plan. He’s smart enough to know that if Reagan Tokes lives, she’s going to come into court and point to him and say – that’s the man who raped me. That’s the man who robbed me.”