BRENTWOOD - Prosecutors say they are open to a possible plea deal for a Plaistow mother and her boyfriend who went on the run to Orlando, Fla., after he became suspected of abusing her 3-year-old son.
"If and when either of them wants to take responsibility for their conduct, we'll talk to them about what we think an appropriate sentence might be," Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid said Thursday. Reid made that statement outside the courtroom where Jessica Linscott, 23, and her boyfriend, Roland Dow, 27, waived arraignment on witness-tampering charges in Rockingham County Superior Court.
The couple was also indicted earlier this month on charges that they illegally video-recorded a coaching session given to 3-year-old James Nicholson prior to being questioned by a Department of Youth, Children and Family worker on Oct. 23. That visit by a state worker happened days before Dow and Linscott fled for nearly two weeks after doctors at Exeter Hospital concluded the boy had been struck in the head and suffered burns to his hands.
They were apprehended at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 28. Dow was indicted on first- and second-degree assault charges. Linscott was charged with six misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
A grand jury brought the felony charges of interception and disclosure of communication and witness tampering earlier this month.
About 20 minutes of the video shows Dow and Linscott instructing the boy how to answer questions about bloody noses and whether he gets yelled at, according to prosecutors and indictments.
"This is before the child suffered serious injuries," Reid said about the video. "Had DCYF been able to get accurate information at that time, it's our position that perhaps the child wouldn't have been so injured."
Bail for Dow and Linscott remained at $500,000 cash or corporate surety. Reid acknowledged that Dow's defense lawyer, Tom Gleason, is expected to ask the first- and second-degree assault trial be delayed in the wake of new charges being filed.
Prosecutors have not yet indicated whether they will seek to consolidate the assault and witness-tampering cases against Dow and Linscott. Court documents indicate Linscott will be called as a state witness if Dow elects to go to trial.