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Astronaut to face attempted murder charge

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Jennie McGrath
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« on: February 07, 2007, 09:38:40 pm »

Astronaut to face attempted murder charge

NEW: Lisa Marie Nowak is scheduled to go before judge again Tuesday
Judge grants bail; planned attempted murder charge prevents release
Women were vying for the affection of astronaut Bill Oefelein, police report says
Nowak, 43, is married with three children; she's been astronaut since 1996

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- A NASA astronaut charged with pepper-spraying and trying to kidnap a romantic rival was granted bail Tuesday, but her release was delayed after police announced they were filing an attempted murder charge against her, a corrections department spokesman said.

Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak had already paid her bail on three other charges when she learned that she would not be released because Orlando police were planning to add attempted murder to the list, said Allen Moore, a spokesman for the Orange County Corrections Department.

Nowak will remain in protective custody until her first appearance on the new charge, Moore said. She was scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon.

One legal analyst said police and prosecutors likely added the new charge because they were miffed the judge granted Nowak bail when they requested she be held without bond.

"What had to have happened is that prosecutors and police were really frosted when the judge, despite what they considered to be some pretty serious charges already -- including attempted kidnapping -- basically gave her a get-out-of-jail-free-for-now pass in exchange for a $15,500 bond and a GPS monitor," said CNN legal consultant Kendall Coffey.

In granting her bail on the original charges, the judge warned that Nowak is to have no contact with engineer Colleen Shipman and must wear a GPS, or global positioning satellite device, to ensure she does not travel east of Orange County, where Shipman lives.

The charges against Nowak stem from an alleged love triangle in which Nowak and Shipman, 30, were competing for the affections of astronaut Bill Oefelein, police said. (Watch a shackled Nowak bow her head as attorneys discuss her bail with the judge javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/law/2007/02/06/','2007/02/20'); javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/law/2007/02/06/','2007/02/20')Wink

The judge emphasized to Nowak that she could not have any contact with Shipman, good or bad. The judge told her she couldn't even send flowers to apologize.

Col. Steve Lindsey, Nowak's superior and commander of her space shuttle mission last July, testified that Nowak had no reason to have any contact with Shipman and said the GPS device would not hamper Nowak's work.

Nowak's attorney, Donald Lykkebak, told the judge that his client has an "exemplary record of commitment" and should be released without bond.

"At times like this, judge, one's good works must count for something," Lykkebak said.
The judge ordered bail set at $15,500 on three counts. A future court date was not set.
Nowak, 43, a married mother of three, has been charged with battery, attempted kidnapping and attempted vehicle burglary with battery. She also was initially charged with destruction of evidence, but the judge said he found no probable cause for that charge.

Nowak's cuffed hands were shackled to her waist as she stood before the judge. She looked down and remained still during most of the hearing but shook her head when prosecutors said she planned to kidnap and harm Shipman.

Nowak, who flew her first shuttle mission as a mission specialist aboard Discovery in July, and Shipman were both reported to be "in a relationship" with Oefelein, a Navy commander, according to a police report of the incident.

Nowak drove almost 1,000 miles from Houston, Texas, to Orlando on Monday to confront Shipman about her alleged relationship with Oefelein, according to a police report.

Shipman, an Air Force captain and engineer assigned to the 45th Launch Support Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, was flying the same route, the report said. (Watch how police say a NASA love triangle went awry javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2007/02/06/obrien.astronaut.arrested.wftv.affl','2007/02/20'); javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2007/02/06/obrien.astronaut.arrested.wftv.affl','2007/02/20')Wink

Nowak wore a diaper during the 14-hour drive so that she wouldn't have to stop for bathroom breaks, the report said. Astronauts wear what NASA calls maximum-absorbency garments to collect their waste during space travel.

Shipman told police she arrived at the Orlando International Airport about 1 a.m. and had to wait two hours for her luggage.

As Shipman walked to her car she noticed a woman in a trench coat who appeared to be following her, the police report said. She quickly jumped into her car and heard "running footsteps" behind her, Shipman told police. (Charging affidavit -- PDF)

Nowak slapped the window of the car as Shipman locked it, the report said. Nowak then tried to open the car door, saying that her ride had not arrived.

Shipman told Nowak she would send for help, but when Nowak said she couldn't hear her and started to cry, Shipman cracked her window, the report said. The 2-inch space in the window was all Nowak needed to send pepper spray into the car, police said.

Her eyes burning, Shipman drove to a tollbooth and reported the incident.
When an officer found Nowak at a bus stop, she was wearing a different coat, and the officer observed her putting items in a trash can, the police report said. The officer retrieved a wig and a BB gun from the trash can, the report said.

Police found in Nowak's bag a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a folding knife with a 4-inch blade, 3 to 4 feet of rubber tubing, large plastic garbage bags and about $600 in cash, the report said.

Nowak acknowledged details of Shipman's allegations, according to police, and allowed officers to search her car. There, police found diapers, six latex gloves, directions from Houston to Orlando International Airport, e-mails from Shipman to Oefelein, a letter indicating how much she loved Oefelein and directions to Shipman's home address in Florida, the report said.

Nowak told police she didn't intend to harm Shipman and "that she only wanted to scare Ms. Shipman into talking with her," a police report said. Asked about the BB gun, Nowak told police it "was going to be used to entice Ms. Shipman to talk with her," the report said.

According to the report, she told police that her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship."

Nowak has been an astronaut since 1996. Oefelein, 41, was the pilot of the last shuttle mission, also aboard Discovery, which flew in December.

Oefelein would not make any comments through NASA at this time, Johnson Space Center spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said.
Lindsey and Navy Capt. Chris Ferguson went to Florida to establish contact with Nowak, Hawley said, adding that her status as an active-duty astronaut remains unchanged.

Lindsey said he came to support Nowak "like we would any employee at NASA if they were to get into this situation."
"We're a close family, and we try to take care of our own," he added.
Lindsey would not comment on whether NASA will take any disciplinary actions against Nowak, saying, "Those are ongoing things, and we'll let the process work in those areas."

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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 09:40:27 pm »

Man, what a nutjob!

If I were ever lucky enough to be an astronaut, you sure wouldn't catch me foolng around.  I would be the best little astronaut I could be.  NASA should have a non-fraternization policy.

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 01:45:36 am »

Astronaut flies back to troubled Houston home
POSTED: 11:19 a.m. EST, February 7, 2007

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Astronaut Lisa Nowak arrived home to Houston Wednesday morning, a day after she appeared in court in Orlando, Florida, to face charges including the attempted murder of a romantic rival.

As friends and strangers tried to imagine what could have caused her apparent meltdown, a few clues emerged.
A family statement said Nowak had recently separated from her husband of 19 years, who works at NASA Mission Control. They have a teenage son and young twin daughters.

The Associated Press reported that there had been signs of problems before Nowak's arrest. In November, police were called to Nowak's home near the Johnson Space Center after a neighbor reported hearing the sounds of dishes being thrown inside, AP reported.

Nowak, a Navy captain, is accused of accosting Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, 30, in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport early Monday and attacking her with pepper spray. She told police she only wanted to talk with Shipman.

Nowak and Shipman were both "in a relationship" with Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein, another astronaut, according to a police report of the incident.

Nowak told police her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship and less than a romantic relationship."

Shipman has filed for a restraining order on Nowak in Brevard County, Florida, where Shipman lives and works, according to a copy of the order on the county's Web site.

In the paperwork for the order, Shipman said that Nowak had been stalking her for the past two months.
Her handwritten petition says she has known Nowak since Monday at "approx 0345" and adds Nowak is an "acquaintance of boyfriend." (Read Shipman's petition)

A hearing for the order is scheduled for February 20.

Friend: Nowak helped my son
Jonathan Clark, a friend of Nowak and her husband, appearing on CNN's American Morning, called Nowak "a wonderful, good, caring person" who "was a mother before she was an astronaut."

Clark is a former NASA flight surgeon whose wife, Laurel Clark, was among the astronauts killed in the Columbia disaster in 2003.

Nowak helped his son, Ian, cope with the anguish of losing his mother, Clark said.
"Lisa just stepped right in there with us, obviously my son losing his mom had this tremendous void in his life," Clark said. "It was just a wonderful thing, you could just see a smile on his face whenever he was around her."

"All of the female astronauts who are moms have a common bond there," Clark said. "This is a high-risk endeavor and they're almost torn between being a mom and being a career astronaut."

AP reported there were no lights on at the brick, two-story Nowak home on Tuesday. Newspapers and mail sat on the dining room table, and toys were scattered on the floor, AP said. Nowak's husband could not be reached, AP reported.

There was no word on where Nowak was going after her arrival in Houston, but Reuters news agency reported that neighbors were seen bringing groceries to her home shortly after her flight landed, at about 9:00 a.m. ET.

NASA grounded Nowak for 30 days on Tuesday.
Michael Coats, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, issued a statement saying Nowak "is officially on 30-day leave and has been removed from flight status and all mission-related activities."

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. The charges against Lisa Nowak are serious ones that must be decided by the judicial system," the statement said. (Watch how police say a NASA love triangle went awry javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2007/02/06/','2007/02/20'); javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2007/02/06/','2007/02/20')Wink

Family shocked
Nowak's family released their statement from their home in Rockville, Maryland.
"Lisa is an extremely caring and dedicated mother to her three children. She has been married for 19 years, although she and her husband had separated a few weeks ago," the statement said.

"Considering both her personal and professional life, these alleged events are completely out of character and have come as a tremendous shock to our family," the statement said.

"We hope that the public will keep an open mind about what the facts will eventually show and that the legal system will be allowed to run its course."

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."

Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2007, 02:23:43 pm »

She works for NASA which is highly guarded then attempts a kidnapping at an airport which has beefed up security since 9/11/2001   Huh Huh Huh Huh

Proves the exo-humans' point of just how barbaric we as Earth humanity still are.
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