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Reagan Tokes Act aims to improve GPS monitoring

(September 27, 2017) — Lisa McCrary-Tokes stood alongside Ohio legislators Wednesday morning as a heartbroken mother.

Her daughter, Reagan Tokes, a 21-year-old Ohio State University student, was kidnapped the night of Feb. 8 as she walked from her Short North workplace to her car. The next day, her body was found near the entrance to Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City. She had been raped and murdered.

“Reagan was the true embodiment of love and light amidst the darkness in this world,” McCrary-Tokes said.

Brian Golsby, a convicted sex offender, was charged in the case. He pleaded not guilty to an 18-count indictment, which includes charges that he committed six armed robberies in the days leading up Tokes’ murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Legislators unveiled the Reagan Tokes Act Wednesday with legislation in both the House and Senate. The bills focus on two issues: the sentencing of violent offenders and electronic monitoring and re-entry standards.

The goal, said Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva Park, is to incentivize violent felony offenders to reform themselves while in prison.

The bills aim to keep offenders behind bars longer if they either can’t reform themselves or chose not to, and to have more intense electronic monitoring and re-entry programs for violent offenders who are going to be released from prison, Bacon said.

“There is nothing we can do to bring back Reagan Tokes into this world,” Bacon said. “We think we can put standards in place to make changes in law that can prevent this, that can save someone’s life in the future.”

While incarcerated, the Golsby was shuffled between five different prisons and had 52 infractions including fighting and refusing to obey orders, Hughes said.

Bacon is sponsoring the Senate bill with Sen. Sean J. O’Brien, D-Bazetta, while Reps. Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus, and Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington, are sponsoring the House legislation.

“It is our goal with this legislation to ensure this never happens again,” Hughes said.

What happened to her daughter was preventable, Lisa McCrary-Tokes said. If it had not been for that fateful night in February, her daughter would have gotten her psychology degree in May.

“Violent offenders should be held appropriately accountable for their actions and the sentencing structure should be reflective of that,” she said.

O’Brien hopes to get this legislation through the House and Senate quickly to ensure this tragedy won’t happen to other Ohio families.

“When violent criminals are released from the penal system, many are not put into the private systems because they are rejected because their violent behavior,” O’Brien said. “This bill seeks to have the department of corrections creates a system where this violent criminals are not just released into the streets.”

Golsby was under GPS monitoring at the time he allegedly committed the robberies and murder. The proposed legislation, Boggs said, “will require that GPS monitors placed on ex-felons have restrictions related to those monitors,” she said.

People in her district are asking why Golsby wasn’t being watched by anyone, considering he was monitored by a GPS.

“It’s not that he wasn’t being watched. It’s that there were no restrictions placed on his GPS monitor,” Boggs said.

The bills would also create a statewide database of parolee GPS information within two years and require third-party vendors to provide crime-scene correlation information that can interface with the database.

“A false sense of security has been given to the public about GPS monitoring,” McCrary-Tokes said.