- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida prosecutors charged an astronaut yesterday with trying to kidnap a romantic rival, but they declined to file an attempted murder charge recommended by police.

Lisa Nowak, 43, was formally charged almost a month after she was arrested at an Orlando airport parking lot.

Police have said the mother of three had raced 900 miles in her car from Houston to Orlando on Feb. 5 to confront a woman she viewed as a rival for a space shuttle pilot’s affection. Mrs. Nowak donned a wig and trench coat, then sprayed a chemical into the woman’s car when she wouldn’t let Mrs. Nowak in, police said.

Officers found a BB gun, a new steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing in Mrs. Nowak’s car, and recommended she be charged with attempted murder.

Mrs. Nowak pleaded not guilty last month on all counts that police recommended. Her attorney, Donald Lykkebak, said that she denies the charges filed yesterday: attempted kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm, burglary with an assault using a weapon and battery.

“The state attorney appears to recognize that the initial charges were overreaching,” Mr. Lykkebak said. “Unfortunately … the state’s current assessment still overstates the conduct.”

Mrs. Nowak thought Colleen Shipman was romantically involved with Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, a pilot during Space Shuttle Discovery’s trip to the International Space Station in December, police said.

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