Mother of Reagan Tokes provides emotional testimony to lawmakers

Toby and Lisa Tokes speak at House committee for Reagan Tokes Act (WBNS-10TV)
Mother of Reagan Tokes provides emotional testimony to lawmakers
Tokes' family describes pain they are going through

COLUMBUS -- Lisa McCrary-Tokes doesn't want lawmakers to walk a mile in her shoes.

But she does want them to imagine how it is to walk in hers, a mother who lost her daughter to a violent act.

One Lisa and her husband Toby Tokes believe was preventable.

"These are the shoes we have to walk in. It is our present and our future and it is a living hell," Lisa McCrary-Tokes said.

Lisa McCrary-Tokes -- flanked by her husband Toby Tokes -- provided emotional testimony Wednesday before two separate House and Senate committees.

"She was left in a field naked, shot twice in the head. She laid there for 12 hours before someone found her frozen lifeless body," Lisa McCrary-Tokes said. "Do you know what it's like to be sitting here and that be factual?"

Their daughter, Reagan Tokes, was found fatally shot in Scioto Grove Metro Park back in February. The man charged with her death, Brian Golsby, has pleaded not guilty.

Lisa and Toby Tokes blame Golsby -- and the state's corrections department for what they say were failures to adequately monitor Golsby.

During Wednesday's committee hearings, Lisa urged lawmakers to support the Reagan Tokes Act -- legislation that would overhaul what Lisa and Toby have called a "flawed and broken" state criminal justice system.

"Our daughter lost her life over this flawed system. This is our reality. It will never get better. How many others were there before her?" she asked.

As a violent sexual predator, Golsby was released from prison last fall despite acquiring 52 infractions while behind bars. Despite that, Golsby was not sentenced to any additional time because Ohio's current law does not allow it.

That law has been on the books since 1996.

Golsby also was assigned a GPS ankle monitor. But despite that, his movements were not restricted, 10 Investigates first reported.

The Reagan Tokes Act would change that.

The bill calls for creating:

  • indeterminate sentence
  • requiring the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to create a reentry program for hard-to-place offenders who are often rejected by halfway houses
  • reduce the caseload burden on parole officers
  • require ODRC to create a statewide GPS database that could better track ex-offenders on GPS tracking devices. The bill also would require the state to create inclusion and exclusions zones that would restrict where ex-offenders could travel while on monitoring.

Sen. Kevin Bacon, R - District 3, said that Lisa's emotional testimony may be critical to helping the bill pass.

"It's very important because it brings it home. It was very passionate, very emotional testimony that Mrs. Tokes gave," Bacon said.

When asked about the bill's chances, he said talks with other stakeholders have been "positive."

ODRC has supported the indeterminate sentencing portions of the bill but has raised questions and concerns about other portions -- namely who will create, operate and run the statewide GPS database, where the money come from to hire more parole officers and create new re-entry programs for offenders.

A fiscal note released this week does not put a price tag on the cost of implementing the changes but notes it could be "millions of dollars."

No votes were taken during Wednesday's hearings.

Lisa Tokes spoke to reporters briefly after the morning session.

"Hopefully something is done and what is currently flawed and broken in the state of Ohio so that another family doesn't experience what ours has," she said.

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