Juror selection process for Golsby trial slowed by death penalty questions

Brain Golbsy appears in court

COLUMBUS – Men and women who could potentially decide the fate of accused killer Brian Golsby have faced pointed questions over the past two days of jury selection.

Most notably – can you sign your name to a piece of paper that would sentence a man to death?

One prospective juror said she could not do it.

Another said: “Yes, I could do it but I would feel really awful about it.”

Another said: “I think it’s cruel. It goes beyond reasonable punishment.”

And another prospective juror said this: “I believe in the death penalty.”

The questions about the death penalty – more so than questions about pre-trial media coverage (which had been a concern of Golsby’s defense team) – have slowed down the process for jury selection.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 30 prospective jurors had been selected to take part in the capital murder trial against Brian Golsby out of the original pool of more than 200. The aim is to get to 60 prospective jurors before the group will be narrowed down to those who will sit on the actual trial.

If Golsby is convicted for the aggravated murder of Reagan Tokes, only then would jurors decide if he should face the death penalty.

In order to get to the death penalty phase, jurors must decide if Golsby is guilty of the aggravating circumstances of the crime.

Golsby is alleged to have committed the murder while in the commission of another felony. In this case, the robbery, kidnapping and rape of Tokes. Jurors will have to decide if those aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances. His attorneys, Kort Gatterdam and Diane Menashe, have hinted that some of the mitigating factors they could introduce during a potential penalty phase include that Golsby grew up in poverty, was physically and sexually abused and had no father figure.

Some jurors who were excused said they would not fairly consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances as the law requires.

In Ohio, there is no mechanism for asking jurors about their feelings about the death penalty prior to the start of the trial. Because of this, potential jurors have to be asked about it before the trial – even though Golsby has not been acquitted or convicted of the Tokes’ murder.

Both prosecutors and Golsby’s defense team have acknowledged that this feels a little bit like putting the cart before the horse.

Golsby is accused in the 2017 rape, kidnapping and murder of Ohio State student Reagan Tokes. Tokes disappeared from the Bodega bar on February 8, 2017. Police say she was abducted by Golsby who then took her to several ATMs before she was taken to the Scioto Grove Metro Park where police say she was shot twice. Her body was discovered Feb. 9, 2017.

Golsby, a convicted sex offender, had been released from prison three months before Tokes’ death. He had been assigned a GPS ankle monitor, but as 10 Investigates has reported, he was not closely monitored. Police say the data from his GPS ankle monitor was not checked until after his arrest. And when they did, officers discovered that the data showed Golsby was in the same location as several robberies in the weeks and days leading up to Tokes’ murder. The data also shows Golsby was in the park where Tokes’ body was discovered.

Police say they were also able to tie Golsby to the case through DNA found on a cigarette butt discovered in Tokes’ car.

Golsby has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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