Astronaut Love Triangle

POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 1:09pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm

A former astronaut accused in a violent love triangle today accepted a plea deal and will avoid jail time. In a Florida courtroom, U.S. Naval officer and former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak apologized to her alleged victim.

"I am sincerely sorry to have caused fear and misunderstanding." But Colleen Shipman urged the judge to impose a harsh sentence. "I'm 100% certain Lisa had come here to murder me and thought she wouldn't get caught."

In a deal struck with the district attorney to avoid a trial, Nowak pleaded guilty to felony burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery. She had originally been charged with two felonies, attempted kidnapping and burglary, which could have resulted in a sentence of up to life in prison. Nowak is accused of attacking Shipman in a bizarre love triangle that also involved former shuttle pilot Bill Ofelein, who was Nowak's love interest.

Shipman described how Nowak hunted her down and attacked her in a dark parking lot. "She had a bag full of torture devices." Police say Nowak made a frantic cross country trip from Houston to Orlando to confront Shipman after learning she had been dating Oefelein.

Novak allegedly stalked Shipman to a parking lot, then pepper sprayed her. Nowak, who was a married mother of three, was fired from the astronaut corps a month after her arrest. She is now divorced. The judge sentenced Nowak to one year probation, and ordered her to have no contact with Shipman or Oefelein.

She remains on active duty with the Navy. Nowak must also complete an 8 hour anger management class.