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Plaistow mother questioned about drug abuse, being absentee mom during ex-boyfriend Dow's child assault trial

Union Leader Correspondent

June 16. 2014 1:17PM
Jessica Linscott, 24, faced her first day of questioning from defense lawyers about her statements accusing her ex-boyfriend, Roland Dow, of battering her 3-year-old son. JAMES A. KIMBLE 

BRENTWOOD — Defense lawyers on Monday began quizzing Jessica Linscott about her drug use and her statements about being an absentee mother around the time her son was allegedly abused by her former live-in boyfriend.

Linscott, 24, is being accused by defense lawyers of being the one who was abusing her 3-year-old son, James Nicholson, rather than their client Roland Dow.

He is on trial for first- and second-degree assault for allegdly battering and bruising the child between September and November 2012.

During her second full morning of testimony, Linscott acknowledged that she participated in forcing her son to run in Dow’s yard as a form of punishment.

“I participated in things I felt was wrong and I was uncomfortable with. I still allowed these things to happen,” Linscott said on Monday morning.

Linscott is serving 2½ to 7 years in state prison for felony witness tampering and endangering the welfare of her son. He is now 5 and in the custody of his grandmother.

Linscott is the state’s star witness in Dow’s trial, underway at Rockingham County Superior Court.

Before defense lawyers got their turn at questioning Linscott, prosecutors were allowed by Judge Marguerite Wageling to play three more videos for jurors of Nicholson from when he was allegedly being abused by Dow.

One video showed Nicholson on the floor struggling to stand while next to Dow. Nicholson took a step but crashed onto the floor with a thud, causing jurors to gasp.

Another video showed the tot on his stomach and moaning in the empty bathtub. Dow can be heard saying, “James you need to get up! You need to get up! You need to get up. You’re hurting yourself.”

Linscott testified last week that she shot the videos so she could show a doctor and find out what was wrong with her son. At the same time, she acknowledged during her testimony that she knew Dow was hitting her son in the head with his open hand but didn’t believe that was causing his injuries.

Linscott told jurors on Monday morning that she began taking drugs after Nicholson’s father died of a heroin overdose. She said she did not know he was taking heroin until his sudden death.

“It wasn’t something I did daily, but something I did periodically because I could not deal with my feelings,” Linscott testified.

Gleason told Linscott “it’s quite likely you were doing methadone” when the videos were shot by her and Dow.

“That is a very great possibility,” she said.

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