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Judge refuses to dismiss charges in Plaistow man's child abuse trial

Union Leader Correspondent

June 18. 2014 8:05PM
Roland Dow, 28, of Plaistow lost a bid on Wednesday to have his case thrown out of court before a jury deliberating in his first-degree assault trial. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — A judge refused to dismiss charges on Wednesday that Roland Dow allegedly battered and burned his ex-girlfriend’s toddler, leaving his fate in the hands of a jury.

The prosecution and defense rested on Wednesday in the trial of Dow, 28, who is facing charges of first-degree assault, witness tampering and secretly recording a meeting with a child advocacy worker.

Defense lawyer Scott Gleason argued that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dow was the one who inflicted injuries on 3-year-old James Nicholson.

The injuries were allegedly inflicted between September and November 2012 while the boy’s mother, Jessica Linscott, lived with Dow at his Main Street duplex in Plaistow.

Gleason argued that Linscott, the state’s star witness, implicated herself by admitting she was responsible for some of the injuries that James suffered, including a hand injury the boy incurred when he fell near a bathroom toilet.

“She has owned that particular conduct,” Gleason said.

Judge Marguerite Wageling said in a decision from the bench late Wednesday afternoon that “it is not the state’s burden who caused the injury, but that (Dow) acted in concert” with Linscott as a principle or accomplice.

Linscott, 24, is serving a 2½- to 7-year prison term for felony witness tampering and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child for failing to report the abuse.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway argued that the jury heard testimony from Linscott that Dow would discipline James by manhandling him in the shower and letting him fall and hit his head, and striking him in the head with his open hand.

“It’s nothing short of physical abuse,” Conway said.

Jurors also heard testimony from Dr. Deborah Poulin, who examined James’ injuries once he was brought to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon. Poulin testified that James had bruising across his forehead, in his right eye and abrasions that were healing on his left eye.

Her exam also revealed James had a hole in one eardrum and a buildup of blood and fluid around his brain, Poulin told jurors.

Closing arguments will begin this morning.

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