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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Image makeover for ex-astronaut
Lawyers for Lisa Nowak want her portrayed as mother of three, not a sad, frantic mess.
Published September 20, 2007
ORLANDO - Not so long ago, nobody would speak for Lisa Nowak.
Accusations that the former astronaut had made a diaper-assisted, 1,000-mile drive to confront a woman vying for the affections of the same space shuttle pilot turned into water-cooler and late-night TV punchlines. She had devolved from a decorated Navy captain into a sad, frantic mess at the end of a jailhouse camera lens.
Her defense attorneys, led by Donald Lykkebak, and a New York public relations consultant are pushing hard to change that image - with methodical steps to portray the 44-year-old as a well-meaning mother of three who just had a bad, temporarily insane day.
Lykkebak asked a judge at a pretrial hearing Wednesday to toss much of the evidence against her - a lengthy arrest interview and items seized during a search of Nowak's BMW, including maps to alleged victim Colleen Shipman's home, large garbage bags, latex gloves and some soiled toddler-sized diapers.
Lykkebak also accused the media of spreading misinformation, that Nowak had worn astronaut diapers during her trip from Texas so she wouldn't have to stop. He says the diapers were her children's, from a 2005 hurricane evacuation.
Police say that in February, Nowak arrived at Orlando International Airport expecting Shipman, then stalked her to a parking lot before using pepper spray. Shipman was able to drive away, and Nowak was arrested. Police said Nowak had a duffel bag with her that contained a steel mallet, 4-inch knife and a BB gun.
Nowak told police in the interview Lykkebak wants suppressed she just wanted to talk to Shipman to find out "where she stands" in the love triangle with former astronaut Bill Oefelein.
Officer William "Chris" Becton, who interviewed Nowak after her arrest, said in the charging affidavit that he asked her why the diapers were in the car, and that she said she used them because "she didn't want to stop and use the restroom."
On Wednesday, the deliberate and bullish defense attorney faced off against Becton in court, drilling the officer over details of a 73-page transcript of Nowak's interview. Lykkebak claimed Nowak was never advised of her Miranda rights and accused Becton of browbeating her into submitting to the car search.
Becton said Nowak repeatedly consented to the search of her car and even wrote down its location.
Nowak sat attentively during his testimony, conferring at times with another defense attorney while Lykkebak plugged away. She has pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault.
Nowak testified later Wednesday that she never consented to the car search, and felt strong-armed into talking with officers because they mentioned carjacking charges.