A New Hampshire man has lost an appeal of his conviction and life sentence for trying to kill his wife during a 2014 home invasion in Saco.

A federal jury found Gregory Owens guilty in 2016 of both interstate domestic violence and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. He was sentenced to life in prison, and Owens soon took the case to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

A panel of three judges issued an order Tuesday denying the appeal and praising the investigators.

Owens, now 62, testified at his trial and denied shooting his wife of more than three decades. But the prosecution told the jury that he planned to murder Rachel Owens to escape the implications of her rapidly advancing early dementia, so he could be free to pursue his longtime mistress.

Owens drove from his house in New Hampshire to the home of Steve and Carol Chabot in Saco on Dec. 18, 2014, police said. His wife was visiting the couple and staying in a guest bedroom. Owens, a retired Army sergeant major and sniper-trained marksman, broke into the house disguised as an intruder. He shot his wife three times as she slept and then fired through a door to hit Steve Chabot three times. Both victims lived, and Rachel Owens testified at trial about the bullet still lodged in her skull.

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. In his appeal, Owens argued that police violated the Fourth Amendment when they entered his property the night of the home invasion to see if his car was still warm. He also challenged search warrants in the investigation and said the evidence collected should not have been allowed at trial, and he appealed his life sentence.

But the federal appeals judges found no errors by the police or the lower court.

“This was an egregious crime by a remorseless criminal,” U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank said in a written statement. “As the First Circuit recognized, it was solved by great police work.”

Owens’ attorney, Sarah Churchill, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. Owens is in prison in Pennsylvania.

Megan Gray can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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