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Roland Dow, 28, of Plaistow appears in Rockingham County Superior Court on Thursday. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

Plaistow man sentenced 25 1/2 to 67 years in prison for toddler abuse case

BRENTWOOD – A Plaistow man was sentenced 25½ to 67 years in state prison abusing his girlfriend's tot son so severely that he nearly killed him.

Prosecutors called for a 30- to 60-year prison term for Roland Dow, saying he carried out a months-long campaign of abuse against 3-year-old James Nicholson in the fall of 2012.

“For whatever reason -- God only knows -- he hated James,” Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said.

Defense lawyer Tom Gleason argued for a five-to-10-year sentence, saying jurors never conclusively decided if he was the principal abuser or an accomplice of the boy's mother.

The mother, Jessica Linscott, is serving a 2½ to 7 year prison term for felony witness tampering and endangering the welfare of a child. Linscott was a key witness for prosecutors during Dow's seven day trial in June. Prosecutors maintained that Dow, not Linscott, beat and burned Nicholson.

Judge Marguerite Wageling disagreed with the defense's argument, saying the videos and audio recordings of Nicholson suffering couldn't even begin to capture the horrors that he endured.

“Hell is not even the appropriate word to describe the life he was leading with these two individuals,” Wageling said.

For more on this story, see Thursday's edition of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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