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March 04. 2013 10:39PM

Plaistow mom turns state witness in abuse

Jessica Linscott (right), of Plaistow returns to court on Wednesday to argue that she should be freed on bail. Prosecutors say Linscott is expected to testify against her boyfriend, Roland Dow, who is charged with abusing Linscott's 3-year-old son. (COURTESY)

A Plaistow mother who went on the run to Universal Studios with her boyfriend after he was accused of abusing her 3-year-old son is expected to become a state witness against him at his upcoming first-degree assault trial.

The story gained national attention as Jessica Linscott and Roland Dow eluded authorities for nearly two weeks. The pair was apprehended by U.S. marshals on Nov. 28 in Orlando, Fla., days after doctors at Exeter Hospital concluded that James Nicholson had been severely abused, police said.

Linscott, 23, will return to court Wednesday to argue why she should be released on bail prior to her own trial, slated for June 3. She is being held on charges of endangering the welfare of a child at the Strafford County jail in Dover.

Prosecutors say Dow beat and burned 3-year-old James Nicholson between Nov. 1 and 16 while his mother did nothing to report the injuries as the child suffered seizures and a traumatic brain injury.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Linscott will become a state's witness in a court filing disclosing an expert witness they intend to use at Dow's trial. Dow could face 30 to 90 years in state prison if he is convicted on all eight charges.

The state's expert, Dr. Scott Hampton, will be asked to explain to jurors how people react to "intimate partner violence," Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino said in court papers. Hampton is expected to testify about how victims of domestic violence are hesitant to disclose abuse and are sometimes dishonest, "in discussing the extent and nature of the violence even when suffering serious injuries," court papers say.

"The state will call Dr. Hampton to assist the jury in understanding (Linscott's) behavior and evaluating the credibility of (her) testimony," Zaino said in a court motion.

Linscott's bid for freedom was made public through a jail transport order filed in Rockingham County Superior Court. No written argument supporting Linscott's attempt to be freed was made public. The defense filed a sealed court motion three days prior to a judge setting a date for Wednesday's bail hearing.

Jury selection for Dow's trial is scheduled to begin April 29.


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