Oct. 21 Court Date Set for Ex-Astronaut

Oct. 21 Court Date Set for Ex-Astronaut
Former astronaut Lisa Nowak, left, looks on along with her attorney Cheney Mason during a hearing at the Orange County courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Aug. 24, 2007. (Image credit: AP Photo/Red Huber, POOL.)

Lawyers forthe state and for former astronaut Lisa Nowak are gearing up for a day of legalwrangling on Oct. 21, when Florida's 5th District Court of Appeal will heararguments about Nowak's statement to police and evidence found in her car.

Circuit Court Judge MarcLubet threw outthe statement and evidence in November, when he ruled that police had notproperly read Nowak her Miranda rights.

He also stated that she wascoerced into allowing police to search her car, where they found maps to guideher from Texas to Orlando International Airport and to the Cape Canaveral homeof her rival for the affections of another astronaut.

In addition, police saidthey found used, toddler-sized diapers in the car, adding that Nowak told themshe used them so she wouldn't have to stop on her 975-mile journey to Florida.Her attorney hasdenied that.

Nowak drove from Houston toOrlando International Airport the weekend of Feb. 5, 2007, to confront AirForce Capt. Colleen Shipman about their mutual love interest, former astronautBill Oefelein, records show.

In the disputed statement,Nowak admitted to police that shepepper-sprayed Shipman in the Blue Lot because she "just wanted totalk to her." She was wearing a trench coat, short-hair wig and glasses,and carried a duffel bag filled with a mallet, latex gloves, BB pistol, huntingknife and rubber surgical tubing, according to statements made to police.

She was arrested minutesafter the incident at a nearby Blue Lot bus stop.

Nowak faces charges ofattempted kidnapping, battery and attempted vehicle burglary with battery inconnection with the incident.

NASA fired her and Oefeleinshortly afterward, and revamped its psychological screenings for potentialastronauts.

Nowak's criminal case is onhold until the appeals court makes its decision.

Published under license from FLORIDA TODAY. Copyright ? 2008FLORIDA TODAY. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any way withoutthe written consent of FLORIDA TODAY.


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