Jury sees video, mother's testimony in Plaistow tot abuse case
BRENTWOOD – A Plaistow mother covered her face with her hands as prosecutors played a video of her 3-year-old son being coached by her former boyfriend prior to a child advocacy worker visiting their home.
“Do you go in the shower if you are really bad? Have you been in shower before?” Roland Dow allegedly said on the video, while standing in front of 3-year-old James Nicholson.
A portion of the video was shown to jurors in Rockingham County Superior Court as they sat on the trial of Roland Dow, 28, who is accused of first- and second-degree assault.
Dow is accused of burning and battering the tot.
The boy’s mother, Jessica Linscott, fought back sobs through her testimony on Thursday afternoon in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Linscott, 24, shuffled into court wearing leg chains and an orange jail jumpsuit, confronting both her former boyfriend and her inaction that allowed her son to allegedly be struck and punished by Dow.
“I know it was wrong and I was in the wrong,” she said. “I know it was my faut, too, but I didn’t mean for any for it to happen.”
She is serving 2½ to 7 years in prison for witness tampering and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Dow allegedly placed a small computer camera under a seat in his living room and set it to record just prior to a home visit by a case worker from the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The video, prosecutors say, also catches Dow – and sometimes Linscott – coaching Nicholson before the case worker comes into the home to speak with all three of them.
“Did anyone ever yell at you?” Dow allegedly says on the recording. “Does Mommy and Roland yell at each other? Who yells?”
“Nobody,” the boy replies on the video.
Linscott, who met Dow on Facebook in 2011, told jurors how she met the father of Nicholson while a student at Sanborn Regional High School.
The couple lived together after graduation until he died of a heroin overdose.
She told jurors that Dow, who had his own young daughter from a prior relationship, at first seemed like a hard worker and decent man.
He eventually changed to someone who was controlling and abusive, according to Linscott. She testified that Dow threw her over a flight of stairs once and choked her more than once during arguments.
“He might look small and little, but to me he is scary,” Linscott testified.