A New Hampshire man accused of breaking into a Saco home and shooting his wife and the homeowner has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of interstate domestic violence and firing a gun in a violent crime.

Gregory Owens, 58, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland with his attorney Wednesday and entered his plea after being indicted on the charges last week by a federal grand jury.

Owens had already faced the charges in federal court in addition to a charge in state court of aggravated attempted murder in connection with the shootings in Saco last Dec. 18, but up to this point he had not been required to enter a plea in either court.

Owens is a former Army marksman who prosecutors say tried to kill his wife during a staged break-in after his jealous girlfriend in Wisconsin threatened to expose their affair.

Police say Owens broke into the home of Steve and Carol Chabot on Hillview Avenue in Saco on Dec. 18 wearing a ski mask and armed with a 9 mm pistol. They say he shot his wife, Rachel Owens, 55, who was staying at the house. She was shot three times, including once in the head. Steve Chabot was shot three times in the torso through his bedroom door.

Owens, dressed in an orange jail uniform and black-rimmed eyeglasses, stood before Magistrate Judge John Rich III on Wednesday and answered several questions in a loud, clear voice, addressing the judge alternately as “sir” and “your honor.”

Owens stood through most of the brief hearing with his hands gripped together behind his back, answering “not guilty,” in a voice louder that the judge’s, clerk’s or attorneys’ who also spoke.

Owens has remained in federal custody since his arrest Jan. 12. He is also being held on $2 million cash bail imposed in state court.

A court affidavit prepared by Saco Detective Frederick Williams said the Chabots heard a struggle coming from the room where Rachel Owens was sleeping just before the shooting.

Carol Chabot “heard thrashing, screaming and then crying, followed by gunshots and moaning,” the affidavit said.

Carol Chabot said that their friends did not like Gregory Owens because he was arrogant and sometimes belittled his wife. Carol Chabot described him as “cold and hard, very opinionated, odd, a loner…” the affidavit said. She said he owned several guns that he would show off after consuming alcohol, and that he said he had killed people while in the military.

Gregory Owens described himself as the chief executive officer of a civilian company that trains military personnel, Carol Chabot told investigators. Spokesmen for two of the security and defense-related companies Owens has worked with, Target Acquired LLC and Laser Shot, said after his arrest that he was not a current employee and had not worked for them for some time.

The day of the shooting, police pulled over Owens in his hometown of Londonderry. Police saw blood in the car and clothing that matched that of the intruder at the Chabot home.

Owens told investigators that day that he had been watching television, then worked late on a project, a contract to work with troops in the Ukraine, the affidavit said. He told them he had stayed in town all night working, but his computer showed that he had changed the clock manually to make it appear as though he had been working on it at the time of the shooting, when he wasn’t.

Police obtained a search warrant and seized several items they say link Owens to the crime, including DNA from blood from an open cut on his arm and DNA taken from a broken window at the Chabots’ house.

If he does not post bail, Owens will be held by federal officials until his next appearance in federal court, set for Monday. His next state court appearance is scheduled for May 15, although he may be indicted by a grand jury before then, which would change that date.

Steve Chabot and Rachel Owens, who is originally from Saco, were both hospitalized with serious wounds, but survived.

If convicted, Owens faces up to life in prison on the federal charges and the same on the state charge.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan