July 10, 2007 — -- Former astronaut Lisa Nowak certainly isn't a career criminal. If she was, her interrogation by police would have ended after page 1, when she likely would have told police she wanted to talk to an attorney.
But she didn't, so the transcript of her interrogation runs for 72 pages.
The interrogation was released by the Orange County Court in Florida, in response to an Open Records Request filed by ABC News.
The document reveals that Nowak, who is accused of trying to kidnap a romantic rival in February after a frantic cross-country drive from Houston to Orlando, Fla., told Detective Chris Becton that she didn't intend to kill Colleen Shipman and that she was willing to share her alleged love interest, former astronaut Bill Oefelein.
She also told the detective her marriage of 19 years had been falling apart for years.
Nowak: My husband is the only person who broke my heart.
Becton: I'll start with your husband. (Inaudible comment). Didn't you say he broke your heart?
Becton: (inaudible) Departure?
Nowak: Over the years I guess. It happened over time.
Nowak's attorney Don Lykkebak denounced the prosecution's release of the transcript, calling it the latest in a string of strategically leaked information.
"The prosecution's pattern of trickling out information in this case is nothing new," Lykkebak said in a statement obtained by ABC News.
"The police and state have regularly released information piecemeal ever since her arrest. The expected result has been to keep Lisa Nowak's case in the headlines. We disapprove of this tactic."
The transcripts of the interrogation reveal that Nowak did not go into much detail about her relationship with Oefelein and was vague about describing the relationship as sexual.
Becton: You did have sex with another man. Your husband was (Inaudible) am I correct? OK, maybe not.
Nowak: Well it's not pertinent to what (interrupted).
He goes on with the line of questioning.
Becton: So did you cheat on your husband?
Nowak: On the context of?
Becton: Physically cheating?
Nowak told Becton after repeated questioning that she never intended to hurt Shipman and that she simply wanted to talk.
Becton: You didn't point the gun at her, but you did bring the gun with you and you were afraid she wasn't gonna talk to you. So if she didn't talk to you, were you gonna kill her?
Nowak: No. (The next line is blacked out.) I just wanted her to talk to me.
Nowak repeatedly told Becton that she just wanted to understand Shipman's relationship with Oefelein.
Nowak: I just wanted her to sit still, and of course you know at the point, you think logically about it, talk to me now. That was stupid. She was driving off anyway. Like this is my only chance, I'm never gonna see her again, I'm never gonna find her again.
She said her goal in talking to Shipman was to see whether the other woman would be willing to share Oefelein.
Becton: How can you tell me that you would be OK with this guy being with both of you at the same time?
Nowak: Well, if that was the case and everybody was in a position to do that and OK with it.
The transcripts portray a woman who apparently did not understand the extent of the trouble she was facing or the consequences of her actions. She pleaded with the detective not to notify NASA or let the information go public.
Nowak is charged with attempted kidnapping and assault. Her trial in Florida, which begins in September and will allow cameras in the courtroom, will certainly make daily headlines.
Nowak clearly did not anticipate the firestorm that hit the following day when details of her attack on Shipman were released. The initial statement released by the Orlando Police Department laid out a tale of a mad cross-country drive from Houston to Orlando to get Nowak to the airport in time to meet Shipman's flight home from her weekend rendezvous in Houston with Oefelein.
Nowak allegedly wore a disguise, stalked Shipman when she got off her airplane, and, according to Shipman, sprayed pepper spray in her face in the airport parking lot.
Evidence allegedly seized from Nowak's car included a BB gun, a knife, a memory drive with bondage photos, used adult diapers and printed copies of steamy e-mails exchanged between Oefelein and Shipman.
Shipman had thought she was the only one dating Oefelein.
"He told me he had a relationship with a lady that he works with and that the relationship was over, and he had told that lady that the relationship was over. I asked him if he made it clear to her that it was over and he said yes," Shipman told police.
When asked by police whether Oefelein had ever mentioned having problems with Nowak, Shipman replied, "I asked him, 'Are you sure that she's OK with this? Because you know how these things go.' And I said, 'Is there gonna be some crazy lady showing up at my door trying to kill me?' And he said, 'No. No. No. She's not like that. She's fine with it. She's happy for me."
Oefelein allegedly admitted to police that he had been seeing Nowak for years, but said the relationship had cooled off. He met Shipman in November during training for his shuttle flight, and he told Nowak soon after that he had met someone else.
"She seemed a little disappointed, but she was accepting of that," Oefelein told police.
What would make Nowak, a highly accomplished Navy pilot, an astronaut, mother of three children and a woman described by colleagues as a good person, go to such extremes?
Her police interview offers a glimpse into an unhappy marriage that had fallen apart, and a woman who relished her demanding career as an astronaut.
Both Nowak and Oefelein flew their first and only missions in 2006. They have since been terminated as astronauts by NASA and are back on assignment with the Navy.
One of Becton's last statements to Nowak on the morning of her arrest was: "Girl, you need to dump him out of your head."