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Reagan Tokes trial: Brian Golsby denies shooting Tokes in post-arrest interview with detectives

The prosecution presented to jurors Thursday a video of Grove City Police detectives interviewing Brian Golsby the morning he was arrested for kidnapping, raping and murdering of Ohio State student Reagan Tokes. Credit: Owen Daugherty | Assistant Campus Editor

For the first time in the capital-murder trial of Brian Golsby, the jury heard Golsby speak — but not in person.

Franklin County prosecutors on Thursday morning played a portion of an interview conducted by detectives from the Grove City Police Department on Feb. 11, 2017, the morning Golsby was arrested for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Ohio State student Reagan Tokes.

In the video, Golsby admitted to entering Tokes’ car outside Bodega in the Short North Feb. 8 without her permission after she left work, forcing her to visit Chase Bank locations to withdraw cash, and said he told her to take her clothes off at Scioto Grove Metropark in Grove City, where her body was later discovered.

Golsby, a registered sex offender who was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time, repeatedly denied murdering Tokes, saying he “did not kill somebody” and that he didn’t “know nothing about a gun.”

“I had her get naked, but I didn’t shoot nobody,” Golsby said in the video to Grove City Detective Richard Forney, the lead investigator in the case.

Golsby did not provide a clear answer as to why he had Tokes remove her clothes when the detectives questioned him.

In the video, Golsby said Reagan told him she just wanted to live.

“I told [Reagan] to stay [at the park] for 30 minutes,” Golsby said in the video. “If you do what I say then everything will be fine.”

After Judge Mark Serrott told prosecutors to pause the video, Forney testified Thursday that Golsby told him he had not had a gun since 2006.

However, three witnesses who testified Wednesday said Golsby told them he had a gun on him Feb. 8, 2017,  just hours before prosecutors say Tokes was killed.

As Forney testified Thursday about the interaction, Golsby was nodding his head slowly and steadily, and then restlessly swiveled left to right in his courtroom chair, with his face remaining expressionless.

In the video, Grove City detectives repeatedly asked Golsby to explain how, if he didn’t shoot her at the park, she ended up dead.

“We can’t explain that,” Forney said in the video, calling it the “missing piece.”

“I couldn’t tell you a thing about that,” Golsby responded.

But investigators continued to press him on it. Golsby appeared to get frustrated, saying he already admitted to forcefully entering her car, taking her to two Chase Bank locations to withdraw money and telling her to take her clothes off at the park.

“Nobody in their right mind is going to admit to [shooting her] because they know they’re going to jail,” said Golsby, who if convicted could be sentenced to death.

Forney also said he asked Golsby if police would find gunshot residue, also known as GSR, on the black sweatshirt Golsby was seen wearing in security footage from a Speedway gas station on Brown Road just past midnight Feb. 9, a little more than an hour after he left Scioto Grove Metropark.

Golsby said they wouldn’t find any GSR, which is made up of particles that are released when someone fires a gun, on his sweatshirt. Forney testified that investigators collected the sweatshirt as evidence, but the prosecution hadn’t yet presented it to the jury Thursday when the trial adjourned for lunch.

Additionally, Forney testified that Golsby told investigators they would not find any of his DNA on Tokes’ body, specifically denying having any sexual contact with her. During Tokes’ autopsy, a rape kit confirmed DNA found to be Golsby’s, and the prosecution presented evidence later Thursday in which Golsby admitted to raping Tokes. 

Golsby admitted to Forney in the video that he bought a gas can from Speedway Feb. 8 in an attempt to light Tokes’ silver Acura on fire. On Wednesday, Joshua Durst, a special agent from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation who collected evidence from Tokes’ car, testified that he found burn marks on the driver’s seat and said the vehicle smelled like gas.

Reagan’s father Toby Tokes, who has been in attendance for a majority of the trial, was not present Thursday morning.

Editor’s note, 6:30 p.m. March 8, 2018: This story has been updated to include evidence prosecutors presented after initial publication in which Golsby admitted to raping Reagan Tokes. 

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