VIERA - A Navy spokesman said this week that the military will not take over the case of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who is charged with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping after police said she attacked a woman she considered a rival for another astronaut's affections.
"We are allowing the civilian authorities and judicial system to run its course," spokesman Lt. Tommy Crosby said from the Pentagon. "Once that's completed, then the Navy will address any possible violations of the military code of justice."
Crosby said the Navy is holding off because the incident didn't happened on government property.
Also this week, Nowak's attorney, Donald Lykkebak, filed a written plea of "not guilty" in an Orange County court and requested a trial by jury.
It has been two weeks since what police have said was a diaper-wearing, cross-country trip that ended at an Orlando International Airport parking lot, with Nowak allegedly pepper-spraying Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman. Nowak, 43, subsequently was arrested on the felony charges.
A black duffle bag that police said Nowak was seen throwing away contained a steel mallet, a buck knife and a BB pistol. Latex gloves and rubber ties also were found in her possession, police said.
In court this week, Shipman, 30, dropped a request for an injunction for protection from Nowak. A notice filed in Brevard County Circuit Court on Thursday said Shipman "no longer feels that an injunction for protection against repeat violence is necessary."
During one of her two initial appearances before an Orange County Circuit Court judge on Feb. 6, Nowak was ordered to stay away from Shipman. Nowak is wearing an ankle monitor to track her whereabouts. The device is programmed to alert Shipman if Nowak enters Brevard, which she has been forbidden to do.
Shipman wrote in her original petition for an injunction for protection that police described Nowak as "extremely unstable and (someone who) feels like a scorned woman."
In her statement to police, Shipman referred to astronaut Bill Oefelein, 41, as her boyfriend.
After her arrest Feb. 5, Nowak told Orlando police that her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship, but less than a romantic relationship."
But police said a letter found in Nowak's car from her to Oefelein "indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein."
Nowak separated from her husband several weeks ago, according to a written statement issued by her family.
According to police, maps and e-mails found in Nowak's car showed she began planning the trek from Houston to Orlando on Jan. 23. Shipman flew back to Orlando from Houston on Feb. 5.
After waiting two hours for her luggage, Shipman headed to her car in the Blue Lot at the airport about 3:45 a.m., followed by a woman police said was wearing a hooded trench coat, glasses and a dark wig.
Shipman later identified Nowak as the woman who police said ran up to her car, pounded on her window for help, cried and then pepper-sprayed her when she rolled down the window.
"She was wearing a different coat and her hair was pulled back . . . but I recognized her immediately," Shipman wrote in her statement to Orlando police. "I want to press charges."
Nowak, Oefelein and Shipman remained out of the spotlight this week. Calls to their homes and relatives' homes went unanswered or were not returned.
Shipman's home in Cape Canaveral was dark. Her attorneys did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Lt. Col. Ken Warren, a spokesman for Patrick Air Force Base, said Shipman continues to serve on the base, but he wouldn't say if she was living there now.
"I think she's doing as well as can be expected," he said.
NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said Nowak remains on 30-day leave from the Navy, continues to be off space shuttle flight status and has no mission responsibilities.
"She has come on site for several medical appointments because her personal physician is on site at NASA," Hartsfield said.
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