The trial of Gregory Owens, accused of shooting his wife and another man in Saco in late 2014, took some strange turns Monday in U.S. District Court. If you haven’t been following Scott Dolan’s coverage of the trial for the Portland Press Herald, you should.
Owens’ former mistress testified that Owens, a former special forces soldier who served 24 years in the U.S. Army, had told her he was on a secret rescue mission as a military contractor in Pakistan when his wife was shot, according to a report in the Press Herald.
Over the course of the trial, which started last week, Owens’ wife, Rachel Owens, and his former mistress, Betsy Wandtke, each testified that Owens claimed he was on overseas missions as a military contractor, often leaving for weeks at a time, according to the report.
Using the “missions” as cover, Owens spent time with his wife in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and Wandtke in Oshkosh, Wisconsin without either woman knowing about the other.
Prosecutors showed jurors photos of Owens vacationing with both women, separately, while he claimed to be on various overseas missions, the newspaper reported, and investigators said he decided to kill his wife after Wandtke realized he was still with his wife.
According to the Press Herald, Wandtke learned of Owens’ wife about two weeks before the shooting, when he accidentally called her while ordering fast food with his wife even though he’d claimed to be in Afghanistan preparing for the Pakistan mission.
Rachel Owens had been ailing and was staying with friends Steve and Carol Chabot in Saco when Owens broke into the house wearing a black mask and shot both his wife and Steve Chabot, according to the prosecution.
Owens, a retired U.S. army sergeant major trained as an expert marksman, went to the bedroom where his wife was sleeping and shot at her four times, striking her body three times including one bullet to the back of her head, according to the state’s version of the events.
He then allegedly returned to the bedroom where the male homeowner was and shot him through a closet door, striking him three times in the arm.
Both were taken to Maine Medical Center and survived “serious” injuries.
Wandtke testified that she called Owens’ when she learned in the news of his wife’s shooting. She said Owens claimed to be in Afghanistan and that he was getting on the next plane. In reality, she later learned, Owens had been in a police interrogation room while she tried to reach him. Prosecutors
Owens is on trial for federal charges of interstate domestic violence and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. After this trial concludes, he faces 14 state criminal charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Owens faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the domestic violence charge, and 10 years to life in prison for the firearms charge, which must be served consecutively.