Ex-astronaut sorry for love-feud attack
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) ” Lisa Nowak wants the woman she allegedly attacked in a romantic astronaut rivalry to know she’s sorry. She also wants to be freed of an ankle bracelet that electronically monitors her movement, and for the media to leave her alone.
Nowak made an emotional statement after court Friday, apologizing to Colleen Shipman, the woman she allegedly attacked after a 1,000-mile drive, and others affected by the case. The two met in court during a tense 6-hour hearing over the bracelet and defense motions to toss her arrest interview with police and the search of her car.
Circuit Judge Marc L. Lubet said he would rule on the anklet within a week, and told both attorneys to make room for another 6-hour hearing.
The whole case involves a strange love triangle between Nowak, fellow former astronaut Bill Oefelein and Shipman. Nowak told police she went to Orlando to confront Shipman and see “where she stands.”
“The past six months have been very difficult for me, my family and others close to me,” Nowak, a Navy captain and pilot, told reporters. “I know that it must have also been very hard for Colleen Shipman, and I would like her to know how very sorry I am about having frightened her in any way and about the subsequent public harassment that has besieged all of us.”
Shipman had her attorney read a statement during the hearing and hadn’t planned to speak, but Nowak’s lawyers persuaded Lubet to make her testify.
Speaking firmly, the Air Force captain said she still fears Nowak and felt better with her under surveillance.
“When I’m home alone and there’s nobody there with me, it is a comfort,” Shipman said.
Nowak is specifically barred from Brevard County, where Shipman lives in Florida, and must file notice when visiting the rest of the state.
Under questioning from defense attorney Donald Lykkebak, Shipman acknowledged visiting her boyfriend in Nowak’s hometown of Houston several times since Nowak’s arrest. She didn’t say if that boyfriend was space shuttle pilot Oefelein, who had a romantic relationship with both women.
Nowak, a 44-year-old mother of three who has been dismissed by NASA, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault in the February confrontation in an Orlando International Airport parking lot.
She is free on $25,500 bail, though the tracking anklet is a condition of her release. Nowak told the court Friday it’s bulky, uncomfortable and expensive ” the weekly rental rate of $105 exceeding $3,000 so far.
She also claimed it prevents her from exercising as she’s required as a military officer.
Nowak promised to abide by all court orders if the device is removed, including no contact with Shipman.
Prosecutors said Nowak could still exercise, and that her inconvenience was less important than Shipman’s security.
Testimony also addressed whether Nowak wore diapers to avoid stopping on her trip from Houston to Orlando. Astronauts use them on shuttle missions, and that detail has made Nowak a worldwide punchline.
In June, Lykkebak called it “the biggest lie in this preposterous tale,” and criticized the media for its circulation.