The girlfriend, the husband and the wife and child

The term “love triangle” generally connotes an arrangement unsuitable to one or more of the people involved. One person typically ends up feeling betrayed at some point. Within the context of monogamy, love triangles are inherently unstable, with unrequited love and jealousy as common themes.

In most cases, the jealous or rejected first party ends a friendship—and sometimes even starts a fight with—the second party over the third-party love interest. Love triangles have been known to lead to murder or suicide committed by the actual or perceived rejected lover.


Captain Lisa Nowak, United States Navy

Eleven years ago, Navy Captain Lisa Nowak was part of a love triangle that went very badly when CAPT. Nowak flipped out over a perceived relationship with a fellow astronaut. Nowak drove from Houston to Orlando, Florida, on February 4–5, 2007.

She packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound (0.91 kg) drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, approximately $585 in cash, her computer, an 8-inch (200 mm) Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,400 km) to Florida.

Early police reports indicated she wore maximum-absorbency-garments (diaper) during the trip, but she later denied wearing them. On February 5, 2007, Nowak went to the Orlando International Airport, waited for about an hour in the baggage claim, and then proceeded to the airport parking lot, where she located and confronted Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, who had just arrived from Houston by plane.

Captain Colleen Shipman said that after arriving, she was aware of someone following her to an airport satellite parking area. When she got into her car, she heard running footsteps and quickly locked the door. Nowak slapped the window and tried to open the car door, asked for a ride, then started crying.

Shipman rolled down the window a couple of inches after which Nowak sprayed the pepper spray into the car. Shipman drove off to the parking lot booth where police were summoned. Several Orlando Police Department Airport Division officers arrived minutes later, with the first officer observing Nowak throwing a bag into the trash at a parking shuttle bus stop.

Nowak was subsequently arrested at Orlando International Airport on charges of attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, and destruction of evidence. Nowak was romantically involved with fellow astronaut William Oefelein, but she described their association as being “more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship.”

Citing evidence of elaborate planning, disguises and weapons, police recommended she be held without bail. To this day, no one really knows what she was planning to do. Was the plan to kidnap and kill Capt. Shipman? All we know is her passion and desire was blinding her to the point she didn’t care too much about the law and was hell bent to take matters into her own hands.


Sgt. Maliek Kearney, United States Army

From the upper echelons of the American military down to the enlisted ranks, love triangles take their toll. An eternal triangle had been formed between Army Sergeant Maliek Kearney, 37, and his wife Karlyn Ramirez, 24, and the mistress, Delores Delgado, 33.

On September 7, 2018, Delores Delgado was sentenced to seventeen (17) years in prison for her role in the 2015 death of Karlyn Ramirez. Her defense attorney did her best to make Delgado the victim, saying she had fallen in love with a monster. But, the jury was having none of it.

Delgado pleaded guilty to the federal crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence resulting in a death. She testified last month as a government witness in the case against Sgt. Maliek Kearney. Delgado testified she helped Kearney kill Karlyn Ramirez who was also on active duty in the United States Army.

Kearney shot his wife three times, killing her, then took off her pants and pulled down her underwear in an attempt to make the attack look like a sexual assault. The child was likely left on her dead mother’s body for about eight hours, investigators say. Jurors found him guilty last month, and he could be sentenced to life in prison on November 30, 2018.

“Whenever he wanted a girlfriend on the side, he could have her (Delgado),” the judge said Friday. “In some respects, she was horribly used in all this.” The defense counsel said Kearney preyed on Delgado’s childhood trauma and insecurities. “He had a very powerful hold over her,” the defense counsel told the judge. “She couldn’t say, ‘No.’” Delgado testified to supplying Kearney with her car and gun, then burning his clothes and dumping the revolver off a fishing pier in Florida’s Banana River.

Delores Delgado

She told jurors she and Kearney went to elaborate lengths to plan his wife’s killing. She said she tracked her mileage to help Kearney determine how much gas he would need to drive from his home in South Carolina to Maryland. She bought two 5-gallon gas cans from Home Depot, she said, so he wouldn’t risk being seen at a gas station.

Delgado said she lent him her Nissan Altima, which was less conspicuous than his Jaguar. She stayed in his apartment with his cellphone. She said she sent two text messages from his phone while he was gone to establish an alibi.

“She could have stopped it,” the judge said. “She could have called the victim and text messaged the victim, and told them to get out — get the baby, and get out.”

Unfortunately, Delgado did nothing to stop a murder from occurring. And the eternal triangle claims the lives of three people, one dead and the others with their lives and careers destroyed.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Maliek Kearney,35, is walked to an SUV Tuesday October 18, 2016 at the John H. Wood, Jr. Federal Courthouse after being denied bail. Kearney is fighting a charge that he traveled interstate to kill his wife in Maryland last year. Kearney is assigned to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.