Gregory Owens, the New Hampshire man convicted in February of trying to kill his wife by shooting her during a Saco home invasion was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

Owens, 59, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland by Judge Nancy Torresen on charges of interstate domestic violence and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence after a trial that lasted two weeks.

On the interstate domestic violence charge, Owens was given 20 years; the life sentence was imposed above federal guidelines for Owens’ use of a firearm, which was warranted given the cold-blooded nature of his crimes, Torresen said.

“You’re deceitful, and you’re mean,” Torresen said. “I don’t see any possibility of you rehabilitating yourself.”

Owens’ wife, Rachel Owens, spoke during the sentencing along with several other victims, saying she was relieved to hear the judge’s decision, while acknowledging the indelible damage her husband has caused and which she must deal with every day.

“I’ve got my sentence, and he’s got his,” said Rachel Owens, who has a metal rod in one leg, and still struggles to use her right arm, outside the courthouse. “I’ve got a bullet in the back of my head.”


Before he was sentenced, Owens gave a rambling, at times incoherent speech that lasted more than 30 minutes, disputing the facts of the case and proclaiming his innocence.

But Torresen, unmoved, said his statement was indicative of the “comprehensive false testimony” Owens gave during his two-week trial and a complete failure on his part to take responsibility for the harm he had caused.

“I don’t believe you, the jury didn’t believe you, and I don’t think a person in this room believes you,” the judge said.

Sarah Churchill, Owens’s attorney, said she intends to file a notice of appeal on Tuesday, and declined to comment further.

Authorities said Owens’ plan to murder his wife was a way to escape the implications of her rapidly advancing early dementia, a violent shortcut to an unburdened life in which he was free to pursue his longtime mistress.

Owens, a retired Army sergeant major and sniper-trained marksman, shot his wife of 36 years as his affair with a mistress began to unravel, driving from his house in New Hampshire to the home of Steve and Carol Chabot in Saco on Dec. 18, 2014, where his wife was visiting.


Once in Saco, Owens donned a black mask and broke into the Chabots’ house on Hillview Avenue in Saco by smashing the windows of two doors, then ran upstairs toward the bedrooms with a pistol in his hand. He first came face to face with Steve Chabot, who saw the masked man approaching and retreated into the master bedroom. The gunman tried to force his way into a third bedroom, where Carol Chabot had barricaded herself behind a door.

Owens then went to the bedroom where Rachel Owens slept and shot her three times. He returned to the master bedroom and fired six shots through the door, hitting Steve Chabot three times. Steve Chabot called 911 at 2:47 a.m. after being shot.

The Chabots both testified at the trial, and during the sentencing hearing.

Police pulled over Owens about three hours after the 911 call as he drove his Hyundai Santa Fe in Hudson, New Hampshire. Investigators later collected DNA evidence from him that matched DNA on the outside door of the Chabots’ garage.

Owens testified in his own defense after a genetic scientist testified for the prosecution that Owens’ DNA was found on a broken window of a door to the house that had been smashed by the burglar. The DNA analyst, Jennifer Sabean of the Maine State Police Crime Lab in Augusta, said there was a 1 in 123 quadrillion possibility that the DNA belonged to anyone other than Owens.

The prosecution told the jury that Owens’ motive for shooting his wife was “a snap decision” after his double life of lies began to crumble. His mistress, Betsy Wandtke, testified during his trial that she had discovered Owens had not left his wife years ago, as he had told her. She also came to doubt his claims about being a military operative who went on frequent covert missions overseas, stories he told her to explain his frequent absences.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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