March 7, 2007 / 2:32 PM / in 12 years

Steamy e-mails from astronaut case released

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Astronaut Lisa Nowak carried copies of steamy e-mails that her NASA lover had written to his new girlfriend the night she raced cross-country in a diaper to confront her rival, according to documents released on Tuesday.

Florida prosecutors released copies of the e-mails, police statements and other evidence in the case against Nowak, 43.

Nowak has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery after confronting her rival at the Orlando International Airport last month.

“Lots of love coming your way ... and kisses and a great big giant hug with my legs around you,” Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman e-mailed to space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein on January 8.

Oefelein responded: “You must really have me around your finger that I can’t even function without you here, and with you here, I am slightly smarter than a slug.”

Nowak had copies of the e-mail when she was arrested, prosecutors said.

In his statement to police, Oefelein, 42, said that he had been involved in a “somewhat exclusive” romantic relationship with Nowak, who was married, for about three years until meeting Shipman in November. He said he told Nowak in mid-January that he was in love with Shipman and wanted to pursue an exclusive relationship with her.

“She seemed a little disappointed, um, but she seemed to be accepting of that,” Oefelein said in the statement, referring to Nowak.

Shipman, who lives in Cape Canaveral, said in her police statement that while staying with Oefelein in his Houston apartment the weekend before the attack, Oefelein accidentally called her “Lisa” in bed one night.

Police said Nowak drove from her Houston home to the Orlando airport to meet Shipman’s flight after the weekend tryst with Oefelein.

Nowak disguised herself in a wig and trench coat, and carried a bag that contained weapons, including a loaded BB gun, four-inch (10-cm) knife, rubber hose and pepper spray.

Shipman told police that Nowak chased her to her car, tried to open the door and sprayed pepper spray in the window.

Nowak told police she only wanted to talk to Shipman about Oefelein. Police reports said Nowak waited to confront Shipman in a deserted parking lot.

Nowak is free on bond but required to wear a global positioning device that will alert authorities if she returns to Florida.

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