Ex-Astronaut Avoids Jail, Gets Probation in Love Triangle Case

This story was updated at 11:59 p.m. EST.

ORLANDO ? Former NASAastronaut Lisa Nowak avoided prison time after pleading guilty today to twolesser charges: felony burglary of a conveyance and a misdemeanor battery.

The Navy captain had beenfacing charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and attempted burglary of a car with assault.

She was accused ofconfronting herromantic rival, Colleen Shipman, in the parking lot of OrlandoInternational Airport in February 2007 after driving from Houston. Shipman hadbegun dating Nowak?s love interest, former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

"I am sincerely sorry for causingfear and misunderstanding and all the intense public exposure that you havesuffered," Nowak said in a brief statement to Shipman in the courtroom,adding that she hoped they could move forward with "privacy andpeace."

Judge Marc Lubet withheldadjudication of the charges, but sentenced Nowak to a year of supervisedprobation.

She was also sentenced totwo days of jail, which she's already served, community service and ordered totake an eight-hour anger management class.

The judge said Nowak musthave no contact with Shipman or Oefelein, other than a letter of apology shewas ordered to write to Shipman within 10 days.

Before the sentencing,Shipman told the judge that the attack forever changedher life.

Shipman said her life sincethe attack is "unrecognizable." She suffers from anxiety andnightmares, and has purchased a shotgun, she said.

"Nothing hasworked," said Shipman.

Lubet warned Nowak that thejudgment might affect her Navy career and her retirement.

"But you brought thison yourself, and I don't have any sympathy for you in that respect," hesaid.

He also emphasized that shewas not being treated differently than any other defendant facing the samecharges to which she plead. And in sentencing her, the judge said he took intoaccount the fact that Nowak had no prior criminal history and the steps she hasmade to rehabilitate herself after her arrest, including undergoing counseling.

Nowak flew as a missionspecialist on Discovery in July 2006, a 13-day Return to Flight mission thattested new safety procedures and performed maintenance on the InternationalSpace Station.

 

 

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