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Reagan Tokes trial: Witness who was given Tokes’ purse testifies against Golsby

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien (right) holds up a bottle of lotion from the purse that belonged to Reagan Tokes in front of witness Hatissa Jackson on March 7, 2018. Brian Golsby could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder, rape and kidnapping of Tokes, an Ohio State student. Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing Editor for Content

A female friend of Brian Golsby testified Wednesday that she received Ohio State student Reagan Tokes’ purse from Golsby the same day Tokes’ body was discovered.

Hattisa Jackson, the friend of Golsby, said Golsby drove to her house in a gray car with a Miami Dolphins sticker — Tokes’ car — and gave her the Kate Spade purse, which still had Tokes’ wallet, lotion and pepper spray in it.

The morning of Feb. 9, 2017, around 2 a.m., Jackson said the two went to McDonalds in the car and shared a cigarette. Investigators found at least two cigarettes in the car when it was discovered.

Jackson originally testified Wednesday that she was picked up around 8 or 9 a.m. in a gray car. Jackson, however, told Grove City Police on Feb. 16, 2017 that she was picked up about 2 a.m. on Feb. 9. After being presented with a copy of that statement she gave to Grove City Police on Feb. 16, she said Golsby came to her house on Feb. 9, at 2 a.m. and gave her the purse.

Jackson also said Golsby showed her a gun, though it is not clear when because Jackson changed the date the exchange happened a few times throughout her testimony. Originally, she said Golsby showed her the gun the morning of Feb. 9, but during her questioning by defense attorney Diane Menashe, she said Golsby showed her the gun one week earlier, in a different car with two other passengers.

She confirmed the gun to be a revolver, the type of weapon used in Tokes’ killing.

Jackson said when Golsby picked her up Feb. 9, the car smelled like gas. She said Golsby told her he was carrying a container of gasoline in the trunk because “he didn’t want to stop” to get some. Earlier Wednesday, a special agent from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified and said a burn mark was found in the car, though he could not confirm when it was created.

Danny Sherrod, a man who worked with Golsby at Panacea Products, said the day of Feb. 9, he heard Golsby talk about a car he just bought for $600 as he stood in front of what Sherrod said was a silver Acura with a Miami Dolphins sticker. Sherrod confirmed the car to be Tokes’ when shown photos by the prosecution.

Sherrod said he was not friends with Golsby, and did not see the car on the news before talking to police later that month about what he witnessed.

Jackson was taken into custody by Grove City Police Feb. 16, with Tokes’ Kate Spade purse in hand. In it was a white Kate Spade wallet, which also belonged to Tokes, along with Jackson’s phone, planner and various receipts.

O’Brien presented the purse to Jackson in front of the court, with the lotion, wallet and pepper spray in it. Jackson said she recognized the contents as the same ones the day she received the purse from Golsby.

Jackson said Golsby told her the purse was new and she did not know the purse was Tokes’, even after she found out Golsby was arrested on charges related to the Ohio State student’s murder. Golsby’s defense questioned the merits of Jackson as a witness, asking her why she didn’t call the police after Golsby was arrested, saying the connection between Tokes and the purse could have been made.

Additionally, the defense questioned the relationship between Jackson, who was 20 years old in late 2017, and Golsby, who was 28 at the time. Menashe asked Jackson whether or not she was using Golsby for money to pay bills.

The witness confirmed she collected money from Golsby on various occasions, including $60 on Feb. 9. Jackson also said she asked Golsby for money the first time he called her four days after they first met.

Jackson said she didn’t ask Golsby why he had the gun and kept to herself instead.

“I was brought up not to get into things as serious as guns,” she said after her testimony. “My mom was brought up country so if we use a gun, it’s for country. But for the city life, if they use a gun, it’s a different type of hunting.”

Jackson recounted several of her interactions with Golsby throughout the months of January and February.

Jackson said she first met Golsby when he was getting off a COTA bus in late December or early January. She asked him for directions and the two exchanged numbers.

When asked directly whether or not she liked Golsby during their exchanges, Jackson said yes, that “there was something about him” that attracted her, adding she did not think she would like him upon their initial interactions.

On Feb. 2, Golsby picked Jackson up in a black car with one black man who was in the driver’s seat and a white woman who was in the backseat. Jackson said she did not see any of their faces, but the car was different than the one Golsby picked her up in on Feb. 9.

Earlier in the day, several witnesses said Golsby relied on COTA for transportation because he did not own a car. Days later, they said he showed up with a car the day after Tokes was killed.

Throughout the hearing, Jackson had trouble recollecting specific information, putting her head in her hands trying to remember facts at times, and taking long periods to answer specific questions, including details about her first interview with Grove City Police.

The trial will continue Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m.

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