|'Tattoo Vince' seeks new trial|
By David Hedges, Publisher
More than four years after he was convicted of murdering his best friend, a Tariff man serving life in prison without chance for parole is making a final bid for a new trial.
Alex Vincent Golosow, 52, also known as "Tattoo Vince," was in Roane Circuit Court Monday and took the stand for the first time since he was arrested. Golosow complained of several problems with his trial. He accused the prosecutors and judge of improper behavior and said his attorneys convinced him not to testify.
He also complained about the make-up of a jury, including a white-haired woman who was foreman.
"I wanted the old woman off the jury. She was like 90 years old," he said.
"I thought I was supposed to be judged by a jury of my peers, but I didn't see any tattooed hippies on there," Golosow told Judge Tom Evans, who presided over the trial in May 2003.
Golosow said Evans had an "improper relationship" with the woman because she had been the judge's babysitter when he was a child.
Golosow claimed the woman wanted to help Evans "by getting him another conviction."
Evans said the woman was his neighbor when he was growing up, but she was not his babysitter.
Golosow remained shackled and under the watch of two guards from the state penitentiary at Mt. Olive during his testimony Monday afternoon. He wore an orange prison jumpsuit and had gained a considerable amount of weight in the 4-1/2 years since his trial.
Golosow was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Judson Reid, 52, of Looneyville. The jury's verdict was "without mercy," making him ineligible for parole.
Golosow's attorneys attempted to appeal the conviction to the state supreme court, but the court refused to hear his appeal.
Since then, Golosow prepared a petition for habeas corpus, which his attorney, Kenny Skeen of Ripley, described as his last hope for overturning his conviction.
Golosow said he prepared the petition himself, before Skeen was appointed to represent him at Monday's hearing.
Golosow said he didn't know anything about the legal system before his trial, which he said was his first serious encounter with the law.
"I learned a lot about the law in the penitentiary," he said.
Golosow did not take the stand during the trial, but he spoke freely about his friend's death under oath on Tuesday.
He said prosecutors were wrong when they said the killing was connected to drug trafficking.
About a week after Reid's death in October 2003, Golosow was arrested on federal drug charges and held without bond. Two months later, the drug charges were dropped and Golosow was charged with Reid's murder.
Golosow admitted Monday to making crystal methamphetamine at his home on Maple Run before his arrest. He said he made at least 2 ounces a week, and sometimes much more, "depending on the clientele coming to get it." He said he was using the drug as well.
But he denied any involvement in the death of Reid, who, according to an autopsy, died of a gunshot wound to the head fired by another person.
During the trial, members of Reid's family testified they were standing in front of Golosow's house with Reid, who then walked in back of the house. They heard a gunshot and never saw Reid alive again.
Defense attorneys told the jury Reid was a despondent Vietnam veteran who suffered from depression and family problems before committing suicide.
Golosow told his side for the first time Monday. He said he came home and found Reid's body.
"I did not kill my friend," he told Evans. "His family threw him out on the street and I took him in. I let him live in my house and came home and he was dead in the bathroom."
Golosow did admit to disposing of Reid's body after his death.
"I made a bad judgment in taking his body out to the woods," he said.
Reid's two attorneys during the trial, Drew Patton and Leah Chappell, both testified Monday, after Golosow waived his right to attorney-client privilege.
Chappell, a former prosecutor, said she did advise Golosow not to testify because "I was afraid he would convict himself."
Golosow said he believed his lawyers did not want him to testify because of his accent and appearance.
"I'm not from around here," he said. "I'm from New York and I have a lot of tattoos."
Patton said Golosow gave him varying accounts of Reid's death.
When asked by Skeen what he attributed his client's inconsistent statements to, Patton answered, "He wanted to get out of jail."
Since he had been using crystal methamphetamine almost daily for a year before his arrest, Golosow said his attorneys should have had asked that he have a psychological evaluation before the trial.
Prosecutor Mark Sergent asked Golosow if he had any drugs in the more than six months he was in the regional jail awaiting trial.
"No, not really," he said. "There was a little marijuana in there."
Golosow also said he saw special prosecutor Scott Reynolds, who assisted Sergent, take a box of donuts into the jury room one morning. He said his guards told him Reynolds was trying to "grease the jury."
Golosow first said jurors were in the jury room at the time, but under follow-up questioning from Evans, he said he was not sure.
He said he did not tell his lawyers about what he saw.
"I didn't know anything about the law then," he said. "I had never been on trial before."
After the testimony, Evans gave both sides 30 days to file written recommendations before he makes a final ruling.