Image: Ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak
Gerardo Mora  /  EPA
Ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak's trial was delayed when a judge signed a continuance order Monday. Here, she speaks during a press conference after her first appareance in court in Orlando, Florida. news services
updated 9/12/2007 12:09:36 PM ET 2007-09-12T16:09:36

The trial of former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak on charges she attacked a romantic rival has been postponed until next year to allow prosecutors time to prepare for an insanity defense, according to a court order.

No new date was set for the trial of Nowak on charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary. She had been scheduled for trial on September 24.

In an order issued on Tuesday, Judge Marc Lubet granted prosecutors' request for more time to prepare for the possibility that Nowak will claim she was insane on Feb. 5 when she allegedly disguised herself, stalked and assaulted Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman at Orlando International Airport.

Nowak's lawyers earlier filed a notice to the court stating that she was competent to stand trial but that she suffered from numerous psychiatric disorders at the time of the crime.

Nowak's case will be back in the spotlight on September 19 when a court hearing resumes on defense motions to disallow the use of her interrogation and various pieces of evidence on grounds that police violated her constitutional rights on the day of her arrest.

Police have said Nowak, 44, drove nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Houston to Orlando to meet Shipman, who she considered a rival for the affections of then-astronaut Bill Oefelein.

Nowak allegedly stalked Shipman at the Orlando airport, then attacked her with pepper spray as Shipman arrived at her car.  Police said she was carrying a duffel bag containing a steel mallet, a 4-inch (10-centimeter) knife and a BB gun.

Investigators said that they found diapers inside Nowak's car, and that Nowak told them she wore diapers on the trip so she would not have to stop along the way. However, an attorney for Nowak said that was "the biggest lie in this preposterous tale" — and contended that the family instead used the diapers found in Nowak's car during an earlier hurricane evacuation.

In the weeks after the arrest, Nowak as well as Oefelein left NASA's astronaut corps and were reassigned to the U.S. Navy, where Nowak is a captain and Oefelein is a commander.

This report includes information from Reuters and The Associated Press.

© 2013


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