Pool of potential jurors set for Golsby murder trial

Brian Golsby appears in court (WBNS-10TV)

COLUMBUS (WBNS) – A pool of 51 potential jurors is set for the upcoming aggravated murder trial of Brian Golsby.

Golsby is accused of the rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder of Ohio State student Reagan Tokes in February of 2017.

He’s pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

This past week, Golsby’s defense attorneys and prosecutors have interviewed prospective jurors asking them in great detail about their knowledge of the case based on news coverage and their feelings on the death penalty.

Dozens of jurors from an initial pool of more than 200 were excused because of scheduling conflicts, their inability to be impartial or their strong feelings either for or against the death penalty.

Under Ohio law, potential jurors in a capital murder case must be questioned about their ability to weigh capital punishment before the trial begins – even though it might feel like a cart-before-the-horse situation given that Golsby has not been convicted or acquitted of the crimes.

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It’s up to the prosecutors to prove if Golsby is guilty of Tokes’ murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

If they prove that case, the jury would then have to consider the aggravating circumstances.

In other words, that Golsby allegedly committed the crime of aggravated murder while in the commission of another felony. That’s what makes him potentially eligible for the death penalty In this case, jurors would have to consider if Golsby allegedly committed the rape, kidnapping or robbery of Tokes or the idea that Golsby allegedly committed the murder so that others would not learn about the other crimes.

Defense attorney Kort Gatterdam along with prosecutor Ron O’Brien took turns explaining this concept to several panels of potential jurors all week.

Under the penalty phase, the jurors must decide if the aggravating circumstances surrounding Golsby outweigh any mitigating factors. Defense attorney Kort Gatterdam hinted to jurors that he may bring up the fact that Golsby grew up in poverty, was exposed to physical and sexual abuse, had no father-figure and had a mother with dependency issues.

Prosecutors have used a chart to walk jurors through the penalty process. It’s a chart Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says has been in use since 1996.

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A death penalty verdict has to be unanimous. If it’s not, the penalty recommendation from the jury would have to fall to a lesser degree – potentially life without the possibility of parole or life with the possibility of parole after 30 or 25 years respectively.

Of course, all of that might be moot if the jury acquits Golsby of the crimes.

It will all unfold over the next three weeks.

What jurors will not hear about, unless they reach the penalty phase after convicting him, is Golsby’s past.

Police say Tokes was abducted while leaving work from the Bodega bar on February 8, 2017. Her body was found the next day in Scioto Grove Metro Park. Police say she had been shot twice.

Golsby, a convicted violent and sexual offender, had been released from prison a few months before Tokes’ murder and was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time of the alleged crime. Authorities say GPS data from the ankle monitor connected Golsby to a series of robberies in the German Village area in the weeks and days leading up to Tokes’ murder. The data also places him in the park where Tokes’ body was discovered.

On Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys will participate in general voir dire, narrowing down the jury to a group of 12 with four alternates. Opening statements are expected to begin later that day. On Tuesday, jurors will be taken to several locations along the alleged crime trail – from Bodega restaurant where police say Tokes was abducted to two different bank locations to an area of German Village where prosecutors allege she was rape to Scioto Grove Metro Park where her body was discovered. Police say she had been shot twice.

Read more about 10 Investigates continuing coverage of Reagan Tokes and Brian Golsby by going to: 10tv.com/reagantokes

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