- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The lawyer for a man convicted of torturing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son argues the mother should have been barred from testifying about his abuse of her.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in the case of 30-year-old Roland Dow, who was sentenced last year to 25 1/2 to 67 years in prison in the 2012 beating of 3-year-old James Nicholson.

He and the boy’s mother, Jessica Linscott, were arrested at the Universal Orlando Resort in November 2012, two weeks after leaving James at a hospital with a brain injury, head-to-toe bruises and burns on his arm and hand.

Linscott pleaded guilty in 2013 to child endangerment and witness tampering and sentenced to 2 1/2 to 7 years in prison. She was paroled in May.

She testified that Dow abused her and treated her son “worse than a dog you don’t want.”



Assistant Attorney General Heather Cherniske said Linscott’s testimony about the abuse explained her fear, why she didn’t take the child and leave, and why she participated in some of the abuse. She argued that the trial judge instructed jurors that they were to consider her testimony about the abuse and an expert’s testimony on what effect that abuse might have had on her behavior and state of mind.

“Jessica Linscott was the sole eyewitness … a pivotal witness,” Cherniske said.

Attorney Charles Keefe, representing Dow, argued that the state “piled on” and that Dow was denied a fair trial. Outside court, he said Linscott’s and the expert’s testimony “demonized Dow in the jury’s eyes.”

“It allowed the jury to see him as the sole abuser when she admitted to abuse,” Keefe said. “Roland was never charged with abuse against her.”

Darlene Roberts, the boy’s great-aunt, left court with several other women Wednesday and described them as being “related to the people who were tortured by him.” She declined to comment further.

Dow’s trial lawyer argued at sentencing that questions remain about whether jurors considered him an accomplice to Linscott or the main perpetrator.

Jurors at the trial viewed photos of James’ injuries and videos showing the child whimpering in pain and crashing to the floor while Dow was heard yelling: “Get up!” and “Stop having a fit!”

The sentencing judge said Dow treated the child “like a caged animal.”

The justices did not indicate when they would issue their ruling.

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