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Judge orders Plaistow couple held on high-cash bail in beating case; injury video rebutted
Jessica Linscott at her video arraignment from the Rockingham County jail Monday morning. Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent
After nearly a two-week manhunt, a Plaistow mother and her boyfriend were ordered held on high-cash bail Monday in a child beating case.
“Clearly he has been put in harm's way,” Assistant Rockingham County Attorney Michael Zaino said of 3-year-old James Nicholson.
Jessica Linscott, 23, and Roland Dow, 27, both of Plaistow, were arraigned in the 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow after they were nabbed at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla., last Wednesday.
Judge Sharon DeVries ordered Linscott held on $100,000 cash bail on six counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Dow, who is accused of beating and burning the young boy, is jailed on $500,000 cash bail.
Linscott has told authorities that the injuries were self-inflicted, but prosecutors disagree.
Zaino said the couple made a video of James “supposedly” causing injuries to himself, but hospital staff evaluated the videos and found them to be “completely inconsistent with these injuries and moreover it's clear that he already had these injuries at the time these videos were being taken.”
Linscott was ordered to have no contact with Dow or her son, who is still recovering in a hospital and in the custody of the state's Division of Children, Youth and Families.
“There's a protection order on my son right now so I can't see him anyway,” a stoic Linscott told the judge while being arraigned via video from the Rockingham County Jail.
Dow, who was also prohibited from having contact with Linscott and James, is charged with first- and second-degree assault for allegedly striking James in the head sometime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14, causing a traumatic brain injury that led to seizures and other symptoms that police say went untreated.
Dow is also accused of burning the boy's wrist and fingers.
Dow faces five additional counts of endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly failed to seek medical treatment for the seizures before he and Linscott finally took the boy to Exeter Hospital on Nov. 14.
Dow was represented by attorney Lawrence Vogelman, who told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his client denies the allegations.
“Mr. Dow denies ever assaulting James and we are confident that the medical evidence will support that,” Vogelman said.
Dow and Linscott were returned to New Hampshire over the weekend after fleeing to Florida by train and ending up at Universal Studios.
In a courtroom filled with reporters, Zaino described how James, whose father died when he was 3 months old, suffered “multiple beatings” and was found with “bruising all over his body.”
Zaino said there's a “strong chance” more charges will be filed.
“Right now the charges that are before the court are within a limited span of time prior to Nov. 14. The investigation is ongoing and we're learning other troubling signs of abuse that took place during this time,” he said.
Plaistow police began investigating after the couple brought James to the hospital. Zaino said Linscott and Dow learned on Nov. 16 that warrants were going to be signed for their arrests.
The pair went on the run.
“All of this took place, your honor, while knowing there was an arrest warrant, while (James) was sitting in a hospital bed, not knowing whether he was going to survive or not,” Zaino said.
He argued that high-cash bail was necessary because the pair could flee again if they're released.
Probable cause hearings have been set for Dec. 10 for Dow and Dec. 20 for Linscott.
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