Owens

Owens

PORTLAND — A New Hampshire man faces 10 years to life in prison after being convicted Tuesday of breaking into a friend’s house in Saco and shooting his wife and the owner of the home.

After deliberating for about three hours, a jury in U.S. Superior Court found Gregory Owens, 58, of Londenderry, New Hampshire, guilty of interstate domestic violence and using a firearm during, and in relation to, a crime of violence.

He will receive up to 20 years for the first charge and 10 years to life for the second, to be served consecutively.

A sentencing date has not yet been announced.

Because Owens crossed state lines to commit the crime, he was charged in federal court. He has also been indicted on state charges of four counts of aggravated attempted murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of elevated aggravated assault, two counts of elevated aggravated assault with indifference, two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, one count of burglary with a firearm and one count of criminal mischief.

It is not known whether the state will try Owens on those charges following the conviction in federal court.

On Dec. 18, 2014, Owens’ wife, Rachel, was staying with childhood friend Carol Chabot and her husband Steven at the Chabot’s home on Hillview Avenue. Rachel, who had been diagnosed with symptoms of early dementia, had been staying at her friends’ home to give her husband a break from taking care of her.

Owens broke into the Chabot’s home in the early hours of Dec. 18 wearing a mask and dark clothes, and shot his wife and Steven Chabot several times each. Both victims survived, but Rachel Owens still has a bullet lodged in her head, has a titanium rod in her leg, and struggles with simple tasks such as holding a cup of coffee and opening an envelope.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee said Owens, who was having an affair with a woman in Wisconsin, realized he was going to be unable to care for his wife and maintain his relationship with his girlfriend, who thought he had moved forward with divorce proceedings.

In early December, there was a cellphone misdial that resulted in the girlfriend overhearing a conversation between Owens and his wife. The girlfriend realized he was still with his wife, and not out of the country on business as he had told her, so she threatened to expose their relationship.

“Our evidence shows that Mr. Owens had found that caring for his wife, who had become ill, had become quite a burden, and it was very frustrating and emotionally draining for him,” said McElwee. “Frankly, he wanted the other life because it was easier, and he used the word in his testimony that it was freedom when he was with the other woman. He had obviously checked out of that relationship some years ago.”

Rachel Owens, who testified early in the trial, is undergoing physical therapy and living with family in Saco.

“She’s a remarkable woman, and she’s a survivor,” McElwee told reporters after the verdict was returned. “She has withstood and survived three bullet wounds that would generally be fatal to other people. She has a strong spirit and a strong character, and she’s just looking ahead to a different life for herself.”

At the same time, McElwee added, it’s difficult to “wrap your head around the idea that your husband tried to kill you.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]


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