'Diaper' Astronaut Gets Light Sentence

Nowak pleads to lesser charges, gets year of probation

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 10, 2009 4:15 PM CST

(Newser) – Ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak will serve a year of probation for the bizarre attack on a romantic rival in 2007. Nowak pleaded guilty to lesser charges of misdemeanor battery and burglary of an automobile. She drove 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando, famously telling police that she wore a diaper en route, and attacked Colleen Shipman with pepper spray in an airport parking lot. Shipman got away.

A judge ordered her to send a letter of apology to Shipman and then to “stay totally away from her," reports Reuters. Nowak faced life in prison if convicted of the more serious charges, including attempted kidnapping. Prosecutors say she planned to kill Shipman and dismember her body. "I believe I escaped a horrible death that night," she told the court.

Lisa Nowak in 2006.
Lisa Nowak in 2006.   (AP Photo/Robert Sullivan)
Lisa Nowak in 2006, before a flight on the space shuttle Discovery.
Lisa Nowak in 2006, before a flight on the space shuttle Discovery.   (AP Photo/Terry Renna, FILE)
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