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Dow convicted in tot abuse case

Union Leader Correspondent

June 19. 2014 9:04PM
Defendant Roland Dow, 28, speaks with defense lawyer Tom Gleason in court Thursday. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

BRENTWOOD — A Plaistow man was convicted by a jury on Thursday of battering his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in a case where jurors watched grueling videos of the boy unconscious and suffering and heard of “torture sessions” in a bathroom shower.

Roland Dow was found guilty on 11 of the 12 charges after a Rockingham County Superior Court jury deliberated for about two and a half hours.

Dow, 28, is being held without bail at the county jail awaiting sentencing. He faces decades in state prison.

Defense lawyer Tom Gleason and members of Dow’s family had no comment as they left the courthouse on Thursday.

The case against Dow and his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Linscott, 24, of Plaistow received national attention when they went on the run in November 2012, and left behind young James Nicholson at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center suffering with life-threatening injuries.

The couple was apprehended on Nov. 28, 2012, at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. where they were going on park rides.

Episodes of the Nicholson suffering were captured on video and played for jurors during Dow’s seven-day trial, prompting some jurors to burst into tears or hide their faces from the projection screen.

Linscott testified that she made the videos, which showed her son semi-conscious and struggling on his hands and knees, for doctors in hopes of diagnosing what caused the “tantrums” that led to his injuries.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said during closing arguments that Dow harbored a deep hatred for Nicholson because he was a reminder that Linscott had a prior boyfriend, who died in 2009 from a drug overdose.

Conway said Dow repeatedly told Linscott that her son was abnormal, “retarded” and referred to the tot only in expletives, never by name.

“He made him sleep in the bathtub. He made him stay in the bathroom almost all day long for a period of a couple of weeks,” Conway said. “Even though he did all those things, he could not control James’ behavior.”

Defense lawyer Scott Gleason assailed Linscott’s testimony against Dow, saying that she admitted to doling out punishments to her son yet deflected all responsibility.

“I would suggest to you the evidence is a constant drone of untruths, of lying to you, to everyone,” Gleason said of her testimony.

Linscott is serving 2 ½ to 7 years in prison for witness tampering and endangering the welfare of a child. She has served roughly a year of her sentence. Gleason cast Lincsott as an uncaring mother who paid little-to-no attention to her son.

Dow simply shook his head no after the jury foreman announced the first guilty verdict in court. Dow was convicted of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, witness tampering, endangering the welfare of a child and illegally recording a meeting with a child advocacy worker.

He was found not guilty on one count of second-degree assault. Dow could face 30 to 90 years on the assault convictions alone. A sentencing date has not been set.

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