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Prosecutors amend assault charge against Plaistow man charged with abusing girlfriend's son

BRENTWOOD – Prosecutors have amended an indictment against a Plaistow man who allegedly beat and burned his girlfriend's 3-year-old son.

A new first-degree assault indictment against Roland Dow, 27, alleges that he injured James Nicholson by either striking him, or "dropping him on his head" sometime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 16.

The allegation of dropping the boy added another theory that prosecutors expect to present to jurors when Dow goes on trial later this year in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Dow faces a dozen charges in connection with the assaults, and for allegedly making illegal video recordings of the boy, James Nicholson, with a computer desktop camera.

A grand jury re-indicted Dow on the revised charge earlier this month.

Dow also is awaiting a judge's decision on whether police had permission search his Dell desktop computer.

Police found video recordings of Nicholson being coached by Dow and his mother, according to prosecutors.

The video shows the boy being told how to respond to questions about being spanked and yelled at. The video was made prior to Nicholson being interviewed by a state child advocacy worker, prosecutors said.

Defense lawyer Tom Gleason argued at a hearing last month that police went beyond the scope of their search warrants when they made a "mirror" copy of a hard drive on Dow’s Dell desktop computer.

Gleason argued that searching the copied hard drive violated his client's constitutional rights because it happened past the seven day time frame that investigators were allotted to look for evidence.

Police obtained a warrant for the couple's Main Street apartment in Plaistow on Nov. 16, and a second warrant specifically for the computer on Nov. 20.

The boy's mother, Jessica Linscott, 24, began serving a 2½- to 7-year prison term last month after pleading guilty on July 16 to charges of felony witness tampering and four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Linscott and Dow fled the state once they were suspected of abusing Nicholson and were apprehended at Universal Studios on Nov. 28 in Orlando, Fla.

Nicholson suffered burns and bruising to his face, forehead, hands, buttocks, leg and back.

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