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Pretrial Hearing Set for Former NASA Astronaut

Pretrial Hearing Set for Former NASA Astronaut
Former NASA astronaut Lisa M. Nowak participates in an exercise in the systems engineering simulator at Johnson Space Center for her STS-121 mission in 2006. (Image credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - OrangeCounty Circuit Court officials scheduled a pretrial hearing in the case offormer astronaut Lisa Nowak.

Judge Marc Lubet willpreside over a statushearing in the case at 9:30 a.m. June 22.

Prosecutor Pam Davis anddefense attorney Donald Lykkebak are expected to report to the judge theirreadiness for the trial to begin.

Nowak is charged withattempted kidnapping, battery and attempted burglary with assault.

Authorities said Nowakdrove from Houston to Orlando International Airport in February 2007 toconfront Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman about their mutual love interest,then-astronaut Bill Oefelein. Shipman was returning from a trip to visitOefelein.

Investigators said Nowak, aNavy captain, confessed to pepper-spraying Shipman while asking to get into hercar at about 3 a.m. in the airport's blue parking lot.

Nowak allegedly told adetective pepper-spraying Shipman was "stupid."

Lubet disallowed Nowak'sstatement to police, as well as evidence found in hercar, to be used at trial.

The state appealed thatdecision.

In December, the 5thDistrict Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach upheld excluding Nowak's statement,but allowed back into the case evidence found in her car, which includedInternet maps from Houston to Orlando International Airport, a hand-drawn mapto Shipman's house and a letter from Nowak to Oefelein's mother.

Nowak and Oefelein, a U.S.Navy commander, both were firedfrom NASA as astronauts following the incident. In addition, NASA overhauledits psychological screening for the astronaut corps.

Nowak remains in the U.S.Navy, serving as a captain in flight training at Naval Air Station CorpusChristi in Texas.

Oefelein and Shipman leftthe military, and records show they possibly are living together in Alaska.

"We're just gladthings are moving along, and hopefully we'll get some resolution soon,"said Shipman's attorney, Kepler Funk.

Publishedunder license from FLORIDA TODAY. Copyright ? 2009 FLORIDA TODAY. No portion ofthis material may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of FLORIDA TODAY.


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