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Plaistow mom admits to reprimanding son but denies inflicting harshest injuries

Union Leader Correspondent

June 16. 2014 8:53PM
Jessica Linscott, 24, testifies Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court against her former boyfriend, Roland Dow. Dow is accused of battering Linscott's toddler son in 2012. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD - Jessica Linscott acknowledged that she spanked her 3-year-old son, punished him with showers that made him slip and fall, but testified that she never struck him as hard as her former live-in boyfriend.
Defense lawyers argued through their cross examination on Monday that Linscott — not her former boyfriend Roland Dow — inflicted harsh reprimands on her son by pushing, hitting and spanking him.

“I left red marks before, but never bruises,” Linscott testified.

Dow, 28, of Plaistow is on trial for first- and second-degree assault for battering and bruising James Nicholson between September and November 2012.

Linscott underwent rigorous questioning by defense lawyers before her testimony ended as the state’s key witness in Dow’s trial underway at Rockingham County Superior Court.

She told jurors that her son — who never had a bedroom in Dow’s home — was at one point forced to sleep at night in a bathtub because he was wetting himself and staining the floor.

“He didn’t even want him to come out of the bathtub,” Linscott testified about Dow. “Roland would hit James. He would want to do most of the disciplining.”

Linscott maintained during her testimony that Dow was abusive and hateful towards her toddler son. But defense lawyer Scott Gleason suggested to jurors that Linscott abandoned her son at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, where he was clinging for life, before going on the run for Florida with Dow.

Linscott, who is serving a 2 ½ to 7 year prison term, admitted that prior to being apprehended on Nov. 28, 2012, with Dow at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., she was going on amusement park rides.

“I was being a horrible person. I was not being parent. I was running from police and I was scared of what was going to happen,” Linscott testified. “The whole time I was running, I was taking Adderall pills, I was drinking. I went to the casino. I got drunk on my birthday.”

Gleason argued during his line of questioning that Linscott began shifting blame to Dow for her son’s injuries once the couple was arrested in Orlando.

Linscott testified that she did not start to tell the whole truth about the abuse until Plaistow police Detective George Wickson asked about how she got her black eye.

Gleason argued that Linscott also revised her account about striking her son with a bottle of Fantastik household cleaner while meeting with country prosecutors last May prior to striking her plea deal. Linscott ultimately pleaded guilty to felony witness tampering and misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Linscott said she completely denied she struck her son with the bottle at first, but then eventually told the truth.

Gleason accused Linscott of admitting to the bottle-hitting episode because she was worried Dow would tell investigators before she did.

“It doesn’t matter because it was still a horrible thing to do,” Linscott said. “It doesn’t matter how it makes (me) look right now.”

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