Eerie similarities– minus the diapers
This week's case of the NASA astronaut who donned a diaper for a mad dash to allegedly kill or waylay a romantic rival bears eerie similarities to a 1990s case of another love-maddened maiden, one with local ties.
In February 1994, beauty queen and Albemarle native Tracy Lippard became enraged because her boyfriend, Todd Scott, had failed to appear at the Miss Williamsburg contest where she had dedicated a song to him as part of her competition... and also perhaps because he was entangled with West Virginia resident Melissa Weilke, who at the time was eight months pregnant with his child (and whom he subsequently married).
Unlike this week's most famous woman scorned, Navy Captain Lisa Nowak, who rocketed 900 miles from Texas to Florida equipped with a steel mallet, a knife, rubber tubing, a BB gun, pepper spray, and large garbage bags, Lippard had driven only 250 miles from Newport News to arrive at Weilke's parents' Lewisburg, West Virginia, home. Prosecutors said Lippard was wielding a butcher knife, lighter fluid, a hammer (which she allegedly bashed over the head of Weilke's father, Secret Service agent Rodney Weilke, in an attempt to get at Melissa), and a 9mm pistol, which she pointed at Weilke's mother during the attack in their home.
And just as Nowak claims she was only trying to "talk to" Colleen Shipman, a woman 13 years her junior who she believed was her rival for the affections of Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, Lippard claimed she had planned only to slash Scott's tires if he rejected her and that she took the pistol because she knew he had a gun. While Nowak masqueraded in a trench coat and wig to approach Shipman in the parking lot of the Orlando airport, Lippard, a striking six-foot blond, mounted her attack undisguised.
Nowak, a 43-year-old married mother of three, was originally charged with attempted kidnapping, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery, but the charges were later upgraded to include attempted first-degree murder.
At her trial, Lippard faced up to 30 years for attempted murder, battery, bringing stolen property across state lines and other misdemeanors. She was convicted in November 1994 of two counts of second-degree attempted murder and five other misdemeanors, and sentenced to two consecutive one-year sentences. Thanks to good behavior, she was released in April 1996, after serving only seven months.