Astronaut Lisa Nowak was operating in a state of delusion. You might have been able to infer that about anyone who drives 1,100 miles to confront the woman she believed was her rival in love. But newly released documents demonstrate the Nowak clearly believed what she was doing would remain a secret.
In a 72-page statement to police released at the request of ABC News, Nowak seems surprised and delusional about the consequences of her actions.
Orlando Police Detective Chris Becton interrogated Nowak following her arrest this past February after she confronted Colleen Shipman, her romantic rival for the love of Bill Oefelein.
Nowak and Oefelein were, at that time, both astronauts at the Johnson Space Center.
When questioned, Nowak was concerned that the incident would become public:
Nowak: Did you call my work?
Becton: No, I haven't talked to anybody from NASA on purpose.
Nowak: Are you going to call them?
Becton: Well, eventually I'm gonna have to tell them something. If not they are going to call me and it's gonna be bad if they call me.
Nowak: Why would they call?
Becton: Well, because eventually somebody's gonna find out that an astronaut was arrested here.
Nowak: There's no way not to do that?
Becton goes on to read Nowak her rights. Nowak's attorney Donald Lykkebak said he does not believe Nowak understood what was happening. Many of her responses in the statement to police are inaudible, for example, when she is asked if she understands that anything she says can be used against her in court or that she has the right to talk to her lawyer before and during questioning.
Nowak does ask, "I guess the question is whether I should have one (a lawyer)."
When discussing Oefelein during her statement, Nowak refers to him as "Tim." She told Becton that her marriage had been in trouble for some time, and when he questioned her about who took care of her children while she was in Orlando, she told him that she and her husband were separated and he had their three children every other weekend. "My husband is the only person who broke my heart," Nowak said.
Nowak admitted to having an affair with Oefelein. She told police she simply wanted to ask Shipman how serious her relationship was with Oefelein. "I didn't know, I didn't have a plan, I just wanted to be, I really, really wanted her to talk to me."
Nowak is accused of attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault and misdemeanor battery. The mother of three was dropped by NASA from its astronaut corps a month after the arrest. Oefelein was dropped by the astronaut corps a couple of months later.
Nowak's trial is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2007.