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Lawyers want alleged abuse of girlfriend admitted at Plaistow man's assault trial

BRENTWOOD — Prosecutors are arguing that a jury should be able to hear about the abusive relationship a Plaistow man had with his girlfriend prior to him allegedly hitting her 3-year-old son in late 2012.

Roland Dow, 28, of Plaistow is headed to trial in March on 10 charges including first- and second-degree assault for allegedly abusing the boy between September and November 2012. The boy suffered a traumatic brain injury and several burns and bruises, according to indictments.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway argued in court papers that the state should be allowed to show jurors Dow's actions leading up to the assault so they can understand why the boy's mother, Jessica Linscott, remained in an abusive relationship and failed to protect her child.

Linscott began serving a 2½- to 7-year prison term in July after pleading guilty to charges that she failed to seek medical care for her son. Linscott had been living with her parents when she met Dow through Facebook in 2011. They began dating shortly afterward. Dow soon became jealous of Linscott, discouraging her from having contact with her friends and family.

"The defendant did not want Jessica hanging out with her friends because he thought she would meet or talk to another guy," Conway said in court papers.

Months before abusing the boy, Dow had become so controlling of Jessica Linscott that he once installed some kind of GPS or tracking device in her car, according to prosecutors.

Dow had broken Linscott's cellphone at least three times when she tried to call someone, according to Conway.

Dow allegedly strangled Linscott approximately eight times to the point where she could not breathe, according to Conway. Dow also pulled out handfuls of Linscott's hair and smashed her head against closet doors and walls.

The couple went on the run shortly after they took Linscott's son, James Nichols, to Exeter Hospital to be evaluated in November 2012. Dow and Linscott were apprehended Nov. 28, 2012, at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.

A judge will ultimately decide whether Dow's alleged actions towards Linscott.

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