Ex-Astronaut Avoids Jail, Gets Probation in Love Triangle Case
This story was updated at 11:59 p.m. EST.
ORLANDO ? Former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak avoided prison time after pleading guilty today to two lesser charges: felony burglary of a conveyance and a misdemeanor battery.
The Navy captain had been facing charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and attempted burglary of a car with assault.
She was accused of confronting her romantic rival, Colleen Shipman, in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport in February 2007 after driving from Houston. Shipman had begun dating Nowak?s love interest, former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.
"I am sincerely sorry for causing fear and misunderstanding and all the intense public exposure that you have suffered," Nowak said in a brief statement to Shipman in the courtroom, adding that she hoped they could move forward with "privacy and peace."
Judge Marc Lubet withheld adjudication of the charges, but sentenced Nowak to a year of supervised probation.
She was also sentenced to two days of jail, which she's already served, community service and ordered to take an eight-hour anger management class.
The judge said Nowak must have no contact with Shipman or Oefelein, other than a letter of apology she was ordered to write to Shipman within 10 days.
Before the sentencing, Shipman told the judge that the attack forever changed her life.
Shipman said her life since the attack is "unrecognizable." She suffers from anxiety and nightmares, and has purchased a shotgun, she said.
"Nothing has worked," said Shipman.
Lubet warned Nowak that the judgment might affect her Navy career and her retirement.
"But you brought this on yourself, and I don't have any sympathy for you in that respect," he said.
He also emphasized that she was not being treated differently than any other defendant facing the same charges to which she plead. And in sentencing her, the judge said he took into account the fact that Nowak had no prior criminal history and the steps she has made to rehabilitate herself after her arrest, including undergoing counseling.
Nowak flew as a mission specialist on Discovery in July 2006, a 13-day Return to Flight mission that tested new safety procedures and performed maintenance on the International Space Station.
- Astronaut Biography: Lisa Nowak
- NASA, Navy, Remove Astronaut from Spaceflight Ranks
- Video: Ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak is sentenced
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