Golsby's attorneys want death penalty dropped, GPS evidence suppressed

Brain Golbsy appears in court
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Attorneys for the man accused of killing Ohio State student Reagan Tokes want to suppress key evidence in the case and want the possibility of the death penalty removed, according to defense motions filed October 31.

Attorneys for Brian Golsby claim in their motions that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s office has engaged in "prosecutorial discrimination" and has disproportionately sought the death penalty against more African-American suspects than whites during his term in office.

They point to Franklin County court records that show between 2005 and 2017 there have been 25 death-penalty indictments in Franklin Count - of those - 16 of the defendants were African-American, according to Golsby's attorneys.

Kort Gatterdam, the attorney for Golsby, argues in his motion that the onus should be on O’Brien to prove his office is not discriminatory. He wants Judge Mark Serrott to remove the possibility that Golsby could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder of Reagan Tokes.

“The only claim here is prosecutorial discrimination in Franklin County,” the motion states.

It goes on to state: “the defense does not minimize the gravity of this request. But if ever there is a context in which it is appropriate, this is it. The stakes could not be higher… Golsby’s life hangs in the balance – and the evidence that is already available is disturbing…”

Golsby is accused of the rape, kidnapping and fatal shooting of Reagan Tokes, whose body was found in Scioto Grove Metro Park in February. Police say she was shot twice.

Defense attorneys for Brian Golsby also want to suppress key GPS evidence in the case.

Specifically, they want to bar a jury from hearing evidence about Brian Golsby’s GPS ankle monitor.

Golsby, a convicted sex offender, was released from prison last fall after serving time for robbery and attempted rape. He was released homeless but later assigned a GPS ankle monitor because no halfway houses would accept him (though he was later housed at the less restrictive EXIT program. In the interim, Golsby was assigned that ankle monitor).

Police linked Golsby to Tokes’ murder after DNA from a cigarette butt was found in Reagan Tokes’ car.

After his arrest, police checked his GPS ankle monitor.

The data, authorities say, linked Golsby to a series of robberies in the German Village area in the weeks leading up to Reagan’s murder.

Defense attorneys claim that evidence should be suppressed because law enforcement obtained the evidence through the use of a subpoena not a search warrant.

They claim that violates Golsby’ Fourth Amendment Rights. 10 Investigates reached out to Grove City Police to ask about what information was sought - either by search warrant or subpoena. Grove City Police referred questions back to the prosecutor.

O'Brien's office told 10 Investigates that they believe how authorities obtained the information was appropriate. The office did not answer our question about the accusations of prosecutorial discrimination.

A bailiff with Serrott's court said that the prosecution has not filed a formal response but still has several days to do so. Gatterdam also did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

A status hearing is scheduled for November 13th, but it’s unclear if these motions will be a part of that hearing, according to a court bailiff. The prosecution traditionally has 17 days to file a response, which would leave them some additional time after the hearing date on Nov 13.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien responded Thursday to questions from 10 Investigates about the defense motions. In an email to 10 Investigates, O’Brien wrote:

“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.”

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