On Monday, the Buncombe County District Attorney filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Owens in the three murders, CBS News reports. He is charged with two counts of felony first-degree murder, felony murder of an unborn child, breaking and entering and larceny.
Cristie and J.T. were first reported missing from their Leicester, North Carolina, home on March 14 after concerned family members couldn't get in touch with them. Their dismembered remains were discovered inside a wood stove on Owens' property just days later.
Owens was a down-on-his-luck contractor whom the couple had hired to work on their home. He lived just a mile down the road and had become friendly with the pair, even attending their wedding.
"There was a gut feeling when I looked at this guy, and I avoided him," Michael Mendez told PEOPLE in March. "This was one person I definitely did not want to meet."
And Mendez wasn't surprised when Owens was first named a suspect in his friends' murders. "The moment I saw him," he said, "I just got the chills."
Owens is also suspected in the disappearance of 18-year-old Zebb Quinn, who vanished in January 2000.
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