July 12, 2009

Couple Getting Married Despite Astronaut Nowak Drama

A Florida attorney says that the couple who became famous because of ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak's confrontation and attempted kidnapping are getting married.

Kepler Funk, a Melbourne attorney who represents Colleen Shipman, said Friday that she and former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein are planning to get married.  The Alaskan couple has not yet set a date.

The couple announced their June 20 engagement in their hometown newspapers.  The wedding is planned for 2010 in Pennsylvania.

"That night, Billy O. retrieved a ring he had hidden in the fishing box and proposed to his love on bended knee," the couple announced in the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News and Beaver County (Pa.) Times.

Authorities say that Nowak, the astronaut who worked with Oefelein in the space program, drove from Houston to the parking lot of the Orlando International Airport in February 2007 to confront Shipman.

She is set to go to trial Dec. 7 on charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery with assault.  She was dismissed from the astronaut corps after the arrest and has been on active duty at a Navy base in Corpus Christi, Texas since.

Upon the arrest of Nowak in 2007, the police report said that when authorities arrived at the scene, she was seen throwing a garbage bag into a nearby dumpster.   The report said that inside the bag she was carrying, the officer found a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a new folding knife with a 4-inch blade, 3 to 4 feet of rubber tubing, large plastic garbage bags and about $600 in cash. 

While investigating her car, police also found diapers that Nowak said she used to eliminate stops along the highway between her commute between Houston and Orlando.