Mother of slain OSU student gives emotional testimony at Statehouse

The Reagan Tokes Act would establish indefinite prison terms to encourage inmates to reform

Lisa Tokes gives testimony at Ohio Statehouse in Columbus about Reagan Tokes Act
Credit: WCMH


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Lisa Tokes was blunt and emotional about the murder of her daughter, Reagan, during testimony at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday.

The Reagan Tokes Act would make changes in the way violent felons are sentenced and how they are monitored when released.

“She was left in a field, naked and shot twice in the head, on a bitterly cold night and she laid there for 12 hours before somebody found her frozen, lifeless body,” Tokes said. “To learn what happened to our daughter – the graphic details of the evil that was unleashed upon her – and to have the reality sink in that she was gone was unbearable.”

Brian Golsby is charged with kidnapping and murdering Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes last February. Golsby had been released from prison a few months earlier, despite an extensive record of bad behavior while behind bars.

Golsby is also charged in connection with multiple armed robberies during the weeks leading up to the Tokes murder.

The Reagan Tokes Act would establish indefinite prison terms. Sen. Kevin Bacon, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the intent is to encourage inmates to reform.

“If they don’t reform themselves, if they cannot be reformed or they choose not to be reformed, they will serve a longer sentence.”

Lisa Tokes told lawmakers that an inmate’s history of violence and prison violations should matter. She said Golsby should have been subject to real-time GPS monitoring and robust oversight by parole officers.

“He should have never been out on the street and he especially should not have been out there unmonitored – but he was,” Tokes said. “And because there were no consequences and he knew it, he continued to wreak havoc on the streets and assault the innocent until he allegedly committed the most violent assault yet.”

The bill would also create maximum caseloads for parole officers, establish a re-entry program for violent felons like Golsby who get rejected by private halfway houses, establish a statewide database of offenders on GPS monitoring available for law enforcement use, and set GPS monitoring restrictions that limit where offenders can and cannot go.

“Our daughter lost her life over this flawed system,” Lisa Tokes told lawmakers. “This is our reality that will never go away, change, or get better for us.”

Sen. Bacon said Tokes’ testimony had a powerful impact on lawmakers.

“We deal with a lot of issues in the general assembly and when you have testimony like that for legislators, it really brings it home,” Bacon said. “It touches their heart. It also put them in their shoes. It makes it real.”

Following her testimony to a Senate committee, Lisa Tokes said faith and love are motivating her to urge change.

“Hopefully something is done and what is currently flawed and broken in the State of Ohio needs change so that another family doesn’t experience what ours has.”

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